UK-Govt awards £750,000 contract to measure (Scots) energy consumption trends to help design digital ‘smart’ meters

Electricity meterInnovate UK – the British government innovation agency – has awarded a £747,000 contract to deliver a two year project which aims to both reduce fuel poverty and stimulate energy efficiency in the UK.

ONZO – a global data science software company – compiles and analyses household energy data taken from sensors to empower customers with personalised insights and control around their energy usage.  

During the project ONZO will present customers of a new energy provider in Scotland with highly personalised information and advice around their energy usage in order to spot energy waste and reduce demand, helping those who struggle to pay their bills in the winter better manage their energy use throughout the year and reduce costs.

Reducing and shifting overall energy usage away from times of peak demand will also decrease the total level of required electricity generation and reduce reliance on carbon intensive “peaking” power stations, reducing emissions and facilitating the push towards renewable energy.

ONZO has been awarded the funding in conjunction with Imperial College London which will measure the effectiveness of ONZO’s interactions with the customers to understand the impact on long term behavioural change.

The Energy Catalyst grant has been established by Innovate UK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to accelerate innovation in the energy sector.

A spokesman for Innovate UK stressed that the new research was focused on developing the interactive technology for smart meters – which display live household energy consumption in real time like a traditional taxi meter.

Last week, Smart Energy GB – which is the UK electricity industry supply group which aims to persuade 100% of households to switch to digital meters for domestic gas and electricity bills – gave a presentation to MPs in the Scottish Parliament.

A Smart Energy GB spokesman said it is preparing to launch a multi-£-million advertising campaign in Spring 2016 by which it hopes to encourage to consumers to be more energy-efficient by being able to see the cost of their energy consumption displayed in real time.

 Estimated average UK household savings will be around £5 per week on energy bills as a result of installing a digital energy ‘smart’ meter.

Tory MSP and ‘gentleman wind farmer’ Jamie McGrigor (Highlands & Islands) caused some merriment when he asked if Smart Energy GB had priced the scrap-value of traditional analogue household gas/ electricity meters – his parliamentary colleagues in Holyrood gleefully remarked tongue-in-cheek that McGrigor’s question displayed ‘true Tory entrepreneurial values’.

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