27 Feb 12

Low Carbon London and EDF Energy share initial smart meter findings

The first 500 smart meters have been installed by EDF Energy in homes across London as part of a pioneering pilot to cut carbon across the capital.

Experts from organisations including electricity suppliers, distributors, academics, consumer groups, local government and Ofgem, met to listen to the results of the pilot at the Institution of Engineering and Technology in London.

Liam O’Sullivan, programme director of Low Carbon London which is led by UK Power Networks, said: “This programme is a unique opportunity to gain experiences about what works, how it works, when and why. We want to share our experiences to help inform future decision-making. The success of the smart meter roll-out depends on collaboration.”

Rachel Haley, Low Carbon London Senior Project Manager at EDF Energy, said: “The trial will help us understand the customer’s experience from recruitment through to installation and beyond, plus the impact smart meters will have on electricity network operators such as UK Power Networks.”

EDF Energy, as a member of the Low Carbon London programme, plans to fit 5,000 smart meters across London and in the Mayor’s low carbon zones, Green Enterprise District and RE:NEW areas by the end of August.

This will be before testing a range of Time of Use (ToU) trials on energy usage from residential properties, electric vehicles, photovoltaic and wind generation and heat pumps. The trials are part of the £30million Low Carbon London programme, largely funded by customers through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund.

In a survey of participants in the trials, EDF Energy found that the two main reasons customers gave for participating was to monitor their energy use and save money. Participation was higher in areas such as Lewisham and Perry Vale, as existing environmental initiatives and community engagement were used to promote the trials.

UK Power Networks believes the findings from the Low Carbon London trials will be useful across the UK. The company said it was vital the trials were able to recruit a wide range of participants to provide a statistically viable pool for the research. EDF Energy and UK Power Networks worked closely with Imperial College London, which will be analysing the data from the trials, to ensure the eventual findings will be representative of usage as a whole.

In the future, more journeys will be powered by electricity, rather than petrol or diesel, more space heating would be provided by electrically-powered heat pumps, instead of gas-fired boilers, and more energy demand would be satisfied locally by micro-generation.

UK Power Networks and other distributors are responsible for putting in place the infrastructure that can support those changes, triggering a fundamental shift in the way electricity infrastructure is potentially designed and implemented. This will need to happen while maintaining the security, affordability and sustainability of electricity supplies.

Notes to Editors:

The LCN Fund

Ofgem established the Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCN Fund) as part of the electricity distribution price control arrangements that run from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2015. The Fund allows up to £500m support to projects sponsored by the distribution network operators (DNOs) to try out new technology, operating and commercial arrangements. The objective of the Fund is help incentivise projects designed to develop the expertise needed to ensure networks can meet the challenges of moving towards a low carbon economy whilst maintaining value of money for customers.

UK Power Networks distributes power to a quarter of Britain’s population through its electricity networks serving London, the South East and the East of England. The company's 5,000 employees are dedicated to delivering a safe, secure electricity supply to about eight million homes and businesses via its networks of substations, overhead lines and underground cables.

UK Power Networks will be distributing the electricity at many venues for this year’s international sporting events. This year we are investing £360million in our electricity networks and around £1.8billion in the five years to 2015. We are also undertaking trials to ensure our electricity networks support the transition to a low carbon future.

Customers pay their bills to supply companies but UK Power Networks delivers the power across our three areas. The industry regulator Ofgem sets an allowed revenue to distribution companies so that they can maintain safe and reliable electricity supplies. If customers are unfortunate enough to be affected by a power cut or have another issue with the electricity supply to their property, they should contact UK Power Networks. www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk

Led by UK Power Networks, Low Carbon London is a £30million pioneering learning programme funded by customers through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund and the electricity network operator. Its aim is to use London as a test bed to develop a smarter electricity network that can manage the demands of a low carbon economy and deliver reliable, sustainable low carbon electricity to businesses, residents and communities. The programme will explore how to combine new technology and commercial innovation – such as localised generation, electric vehicles, heat pumps, smart meters, time of use tariffs and responsive demand services – to support a low carbon energy economy. UK Power Networks’ partners on the Low Carbon London programme are Siemens, Logica, EDF Energy, Greater London Authority, Transport for London, National Grid, Institute for Sustainability, Flexitricity, EnerNOC, Smarter Grid Solutions and Imperial College London.