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5,000th customer joins smart meter trial

An important milestone was reached this week when the 5,000th customer joined the pioneering Low Carbon London smart meter trials.
From press releases - 20 July 2012 09:00 AM

An important milestone was reached this week when the 5,000th customer joined the pioneering Low Carbon London smart meter trials.

Led by energy supplier EDF Energy and backed by a consortium of partners headed by London’s electricity network operator, UK Power Networks, the trials are exploring the pivotal role smart meters will play in delivering a smart grid. The research is part of a £30million programme, backed by Ofgem through the Low Carbon Networks Fund.

The smart meter trials will help UK Power Networks to find the best ways to meet growing demand for electricity from electric vehicles and heat pumps and accommodate more micro-generation, without always reinforcing the electricity network.

Mr Jones* was the 5,000th customer to sign up to the smart meter trial with EDF Energy on Saturday (July 14). A retired engineer, he lives in Bromley with his wife in a four-bedroom, semi-detached house.

He is keen to see how, by using the energy display system in his home, he can potentially make savings by changing how he uses electricity. Smart meters enable consumers to see how much electricity they are using, from boiling a kettle, to turning on a microwave or washing machine. They will end estimated billing from energy suppliers and show consumers how much electricity they are using. Every home in Britain is due to receive a smart meter in the next decade as part of the national rollout starting in 2014.

Liam O’Sullivan, programme director of Low Carbon London at UK Power Networks, said: “Thanks to the efforts of our energy partner EDF Energy, assisted by Imperial College London, we have achieved the significant milestone of installing 5,000 smart meters across London. Customers joining the trial can be proud to be playing a key part in a ground-breaking project which will deliver important research for electricity network operators across Britain.”

The trial will monitor the impact on London’s electricity network as customers start using smart meters to manage their electricity usage, thus supporting more efficient use of the network. Trials will initially monitor the impact that groups of customers using smart meters has on the pattern of electricity use at specific substations.

Some of the participants will be offered innovative electricity tariffs by their supplier, EDF Energy. This will test whether consumers will reduce demand or move it to a different time of day when they have a chance to reduce their energy costs by taking advantage of off-peak or renewable electricity charges. Currently, investment in the electricity network is driven by peak demand. If the peaks can be reduced, it might delay the need for multi-million pound investments in new cables, transformers and substations designed to keep pace with peaks in demand.

Low Carbon London is a four-year, £30million programme, largely funded by customers through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund, exploring how the electricity distribution network must adapt to support the delivery of the city’s tough carbon reduction targets. The programme is looking at how commercially innovative tariffs and responsive demand contracts, supported by smart meters and communications systems, can support renewable generation, electric vehicles and heat pumps to deliver reliable, affordable, low carbon electricity.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Phillippa Coates in the EDF Energy press office on 0207 752 2266.