Archive for the ‘smart meters’ Category

Smart Grid – Smart meters – Opportunities and barriers

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Opportunities and barriers

Smart meters
By creating a potential two-way communication path between consumers and utilities, smart meters provides a cornerstone for future smart grid development. To leverage the potential of smart meters, additional steps are needed. The current approach of setting the minimum functionality of meters through regulation is cumbersome in light of the rapid evolution of smart meter technology. If this approach is retained, however, the minimum functionality should be expanded to include two-way communications, and the ability to detect outages and transmit this information back to distributors (known as “last gasp” functionality).

Two-way communications will allow utilities and other service providers to easily provide price information and, if critical peak pricing is implemented, to notify consumers of critical peak pricing events. “Last gasp” functionality will allow smart meters to help pinpoint outage locations and improve service restoration by ensuring that no consumers are missed because of a secondary outage condition when service is restored to an area. Utilities should continue to be able to seek cost recovery for additional functionality that benefts customers in applications before the OEB.The consumption and price data or other signals provided through smart meters can provide important information for home energy management networks. Customers or their authorized service providers

should be able to access this information from the consumer’s smart meter for use by home energy management systems. More work should be done to extend the benefts of smart meters to those customers who live in multi-unit buildings that are bulk metered. In this arrangement, building residents do not pay for their own usage directly, but instead the electricity costs for the building as a whole are paid by all occupants through rental rates or common area charges. Under current regulations, smart sub-meters may be voluntarily installed in condominiums at the discretion of the individual condominium board or the condominium developer for new buildings. Smart sub-metering activities in condominiums are overseen by the OEB, who in consultation with stakeholders, has developed a Smart Sub-Metering Code to ensure the protection of these consumers. The regulations dealing with condominium corporations are an important frst step in the rollout of smart sub-meters in the multi-unit residential sector and further regulations should be considered for multi-unit rental buildings.

While smart sub-meters may not be appropriate for some multi-unit buildings because of centralized provision of heating and cooling or wiring arrangements, additional work is necessary to promote installation of smart meters whereever they can provide residents with meaningful ability to control their electricity use. Smart sub-metering will help empower Ontarians with the tools to control their energy use so that they are able to become full participants in the culture of conservation.

Smarter Energy: Smart Metering presentation

Friday, April 9th, 2010

ZigBee Smart Energy Certified Products

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

As the industry leader, only ZigBee offers an established, competitive marketplace providing the core technology for monitoring, controlling, and automating the delivery and use of energy and water. ZigBee Smart Energy is the affordable and easy way to improve energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

The following ZigBee Smart Energy Certified Products were tested to ensure they meet all of the Alliance’s strict specifications and perform as promised. These products represent solutions across the entire efficiency ecosystem – energy services portals, meters, displays, thermostats and load controllers. Each product may wear the ZigBee Certified logo and the green ZigBee Smart Energy icon so that they may be easily identified in the marketplace.

Alektrona offers embedded communications engineering design services. Our specialization is in systems that leverage IP network and wireless ZigBee\ISM band connectivity. As a core member of the ZigBee Gateway group, Alektrona is an active participant in the design and specifications within the Alliance. Our team focuses on engineering high reliability solutions emphasizing system level design with a business level approach. Alektrona Engineering Expertise Includes: ” ZigBee networking and Gateway product design ” ISM band wireless ” Embedded Systems and Microcontroller Hardware ” Firmware and software design ” Sensor and control networks. ” NMS, SCADA and BMS integration ” Internet appliance design ” End to end embedded product design and manufacturing Please contact us at: solutions@alektrona.com 401-228-2962
Z-Aperture ZA07-200-ESP
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Alektrona’s Z-Aperture™ ZA07-200-ESP is the first broadband Energy Service Portal and Internet Gateway to receive ZigBee Smart Energy Golden Unit certification.
Aztech Associates, Inc.
In-Home Display
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Aztech’s In-Home Display communicates directly with smart meters.
Computime International Limited
CTW200
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CTW200 is a thermostat which monitors, controls and displays energy consumption and rate information for ZigBee-enabled residences.
CTW300
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CTW300 is an In Home Display with a large dot matrix screen for users to monitor energy rate and consumption information in residences supporting the ZigBee Smart Energy profile.
Comverge is a leading provider of clean energy solutions that improve grid reliability and supply electric capacity on a more cost effective basis than conventional alternatives by reducing base load and peak load energy consumption
DCU
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Comverge DCU offers a wide range of functionality – from individual addressing to adaptive algorithms
PowerPortal
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Comverge PowerPortal® IHD is an easy to use, AMI ready display that allows consumers to closely track their electricity consumption and receive messages or alerts from their utility provider.
SuperStat Pro
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Comverge’s SuperStat™ Pro is a state-of-the-art “smart” thermostat.
Control4
EC-100
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The EC-100 is an easy to use energy controller that empowers consumers and utilities to better manage energy use and costs.
Cooper Power Systems, Inc., with revenues of approximately $1 billion, is a division of Cooper Industries, Ltd. (NYSE: CBE). Cooper Power Systems is a global manufacturer of world-class power delivery and reliability solutions for the electrical and industrial markets. Cooper Power Systems manufactures distribution transformers, distribution switchgear, reclosers, capacitors, protective relays, voltage regulators, automated switches, cable accessories, surge arrestors, transformer components and dielectric fluids, fuses and tools and it provides engineering services for the electrical and industrial markets. Through its Energy Automations Solutions group, it is also a leading provider of software, communications and integration solutions that enable customers to increase productivity, improve system reliability, and reduce costs. For more information visit www.cooperpower.com or www.cooperpowereas.com.
UtilityPro ZigBee
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Cooper Power Systems – The ZigBee®-enabled UtilityPRO™ is a Honeywell touchscreen programmable thermostat designed for utility-sponsored demand response programs and is equipped with a Cooper demand response module.
Digi International is the leader in device networking for business. Drop-in Networking solutions include ZigBee/802.15.4 embedded modules, stand-alone adapters, extenders and environmental sensors, plus wireless mesh gateways that collect and transport data from the ZigBee network to an IP network via cellular, Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Reliably network-enable devices and sensors where no wired networking infrastructure exists, where network access is prohibited, or when laying cable is impractical or cost-prohibitive.
ConnectPort X2 ESP
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Digi’s ConnectPort X2 ESP enables energy service providers to deploy HAN devices that are completely managed by the Digi gateway over a broadband or cellular connection, allowing Smart Grid services to be deployed in areas not covered by Smart Metering networks.
Smart Energy Range Extender
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Digi’s XBee Range Extender is a certified ZigBee Smart Energy device.
ecobee�s mission is to help homeowners conserve energy, save money and reduce their environmental impact. Our green automation platform sits at the convergence of energy conservation, green technology, the networked home and consumer electronics. Our products automate energy conservation, making it easier to save on energy costs without sacrificing comfort. ecobee targets the large markets of heating, cooling and ventilation, utility demand response and green automation.
Ecobee Smart Thermostat
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ecobee’s green automation platform sits at the convergence of energy conservation, green technology, the networked home and consumer electronics.
Energate Connecting Conservation with Comfort Energate lets you take your smart grid strategy beyond smart meters, to where demand is rooted — in the home. Energate’s home energy management solutions let consumers and utilities manage energy use and reduce peak demand without sacrificing comfort and convenience. Building upon over 25 years of HVAC industry experience, Energate smart thermostats offer industry-leading equipment interface technology and comfort control algorithms.
Pioneer Z100
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Energate Pioneer Z100 – Energate has expanded its Pioneer series of smart thermostats to support the Smart Energy Profile.
Pioneer Z107
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Energate Pioneer Z107 – Energate has expanded its Pioneer series of smart thermostats to support the Smart Energy Profile. Incorporating next generation technology beyond the features found on today’s most sophisticated thermostats, Energate’s Pioneer Series of smart thermostats provide unparalleled performance with an exceptional user interface to meet your current and future needs.
Founded in 2005, Energy Aware Technology is a Canadian company focused on demand side management products that increase awareness of resource consumption and help people save money. Energy Aware’s first product, the PowerTab, is an in-home energy display designed for deployment with smart metering infrastructure.
PowerTab / PowerPortal
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Energy Aware’s PowerTab is an in-home display that uses the Zigbee Smart Energy profile to allow consumers to closely track electricity consumption and costs. The PowerTab’s attractive design and user-friendly interface encourage energy conservation and facilitate increased data flow to end users. The PowerTab’s features include a 100 mW radio, a magnetic backing, and three colour LEDs to indicate tariff rates.
Itron Inc. is a leading technology provider to the global energy and water industries. Itron Inc. consists of Itron in North America and Actaris outside of North America. Our company is the world’s leading provider of metering, data collection and utility software solutions, with nearly 8,000 utilities worldwide relying on our technology to optimize the delivery and use of energy and water. Our products include electricity, gas and water meters, data collection and communication systems, including automated meter reading (AMR) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI); meter data management and related software applications; as well as project management, installation, and consulting services. To know more, start here: www.itron.com.
Open Way Gas Module
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Itron – OpenWay Gas Module accurately measures natural gas consumption and supports two-way communication with the Itron
OpenWay
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Itron® OpenWay™ is an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution built around OpenWay
In Chinese, Jetlun means literally “save energy”. Jetlun is building the last mile to the Smart Grid and providing an integrated energy network management solution for residential and commercial markets using standard-based network technologies that maximizes the use of a building’s existing wires and wireless networks for total coverage and connectivity. The Jetlun Intelligent Management solution (“JIM”) is a family of energy network management products that provides granular energy usage information– by whole-home, by phase, by circuit, and by appliance– enabling a homeowner or property manager to pinpoint areas that are consuming the most power.
JIM Gateway Pro RD75606
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The JetLun Gateway SE (model RD75606) is the world’s first integrated ZigBee and HomePlug® enabled gateway that collects.
JIM Gateway Pro RD75607
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The JetLun Gateway (model RD75607) is the world’s first integrated ZigBee and HomePlug® enabled gateway that collects, stores and displays real-time energy consumption information and helps you manage and control- both onsite and remotely- your energy usage through a simple user interface on any web browser or any web-enabled phone, such as the Blackberry® or iPhone®.
JIM Gateway Pro RD75609
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The JetLun Gateway Lite SE (model RD75609) is an ZigBee® to IP enabled gateway that collects, stores and displays real-time energy consumption
KDN is providing high-tech total electric power IT service in entire processes of electric power system, such as from power generation to transmission, distribution and sale. As such, KDN is largely contributing to achieving efficiency and advancement in electric power business by establishing IT system. Furthermore, KDN, by securing international competitiveness in international power IT market, will grow into a global specialist in power IT.
KDN Smart Meter
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KDN Smart Meter Single-Phase and Poly-Phase Smart Meters produced by Korea Electric Power Data Network Co.[KDN] are highly accurate, intelligent, and fully featured electricity meters with integrated communication modules. The Smart Meters have special features such as two-way communication via standard-based ZigBee and PLC(Power Line Communication) technologies, two-way measurement, Power Quality measurement(Sag and Swell), Tamper detection and Remote connect/disconnect. IEC standards (IEC 62052, IEC 62053, and IEC 62056) are applied to Smart Meter.
Landis+Gyr is the leading provider of advanced metering, energy efficiency, and infrastructure communication systems to electric, gas, and water utilities worldwide. Landis+Gyr’s proven record of customer satisfaction and value creation is supported by over 20 million customer advanced metering end points in production or under contract worldwide. Landis+Gyr supports its 500+ customers with a staff of over 700 professionals located in offices across the United States.
Landis + Gyr E35C-A
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Landis + Gyr E35C-A is a high performance 2.4GHz ZigBee transceiver that is supplied loaded with ZigBee Smart Energy firmware. The unit is fully certified and works with Landis + Gyr E350 U-Series meters.
The EcoMeter Energy Monitor
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The ecoMeter energy monitor is a critical component in the final delivery of the benefits of the smart grid to its energy end-users; and an integral component in Landis Gyr’s Smart Grid solution – Gridstream. The ecoMeter P250 is the means for energy consumers to become fully informed and directly engaged to their energy consumption; and is the tool of choice to empower consumers to manage energy better.
The Landis Gyr Focus AX
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The Landis Gyr Focus AX endpoint is a ZigBee-enabled advanced metering endpoint that provides two-way communication with the utility, meter and home-area networks.
LS Industrial Systems has been leading the industrial electric controls and automation field in Korea with the advanced technology for decades. Providing top quality products, LS Industrial Systems set the long term goal as “Superiority over quality and product development”. To set the standard of digitalization which will drive the future of the industry, LS Industrial Systems provides Total Solution found on abundant industrial knowledge and technology in electric control, automation, tube & pipe and the new business area.
LK Meter
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The LK Series Single-Phase and Poly-Phase Electric Meters are intelligent, fully featured revenue-grade energy meters with integrated communication function. These solid-state meters feature two-way communication via plug-in type communication modules using standard-based ZigBee® and PLC (Power Line Communication) technology. Each meter complies with IEC 62052, 62053, and 62056 standards.
LS Research is a leading design firm specializing in providing turnkey RF and wireless design services. A perfect match for OEM customers looking to develop high performances low cost short range wireless solutions based on 802.15.4 radio and the Zigbee stack. A sister company, LS Compliance, is an FCC-certified and A2LA-approved EMC testing laboratory offering comprehensive EMC testing and consulting services. L.S. Research and L.S. Compliance W66 N220 Commerce Court Cedarburg, Wisconsin 53012 USA Phone: (262) 375-4400 Fax: (262) 375-4248 E-mail: sales@lsr.com www.lsr.com
RS-SE-24-01
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RS-SE-24-01 – The RATE$AVER is an In-Home-Display device capable of communicating with ZigBee Smart Energy Profile Compliant Energy Service Portals (ESP) withn Utility Meters displaying energy usage data.
OpenPeak Inc. creates, designs, and develops innovative systems and devices that enable simple control of home energy usage, VoIP telephony, digital media, Internet content, and consumer electronics on a single touch screen device. OpenPeak allows utilities to deliver service updates to users on demand today, and provides a platform for the deployment of future energy applications as they are developed. Through the OpenPeak App Shop, the same device can deliver a complete communications package including news, sports, weather, social networking, and instant messaging and is compatible with a variety of communication standards, including ZigBee and Wi-Fi. For more visit www.openpeak.com.
OpenFrame 7EZ
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OpenPeak’s OpenFrame 7E – touch screen device provides an engaging way for consumers to take an active role in managing their energy consumption. By integrating home energy management with on-board multi-media functions, the same device can deliver a complete information and communication experience including news, sports, weather, social networking, music, and family photos.
PRI Limited
Customer Information Panel
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Home Energy Controller (HEC) monitors and displays electricity and gas consumption and cost information on a customer friendly display. Using the ZigBee Smart Energy Profile, it can read any meter that meets the standard and display the data in tabular and/or graphical format to encourage consumers to reduce their energy consumption through better information.
Horstmann S23 Meter Interface
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Single and Poly Phase Multi Rate Meters – ZigBee Smart Energy Certified meter interface can be fitted to PRI and Horstmann electricity meters to provide consumption data to other Smart Energy devices on a network. The meters conform to IEC 62052-11 and are available with optional load control switches, as well as a variety of power ratings to suit any market.
Rainforest Automation makes products that enable residential energy management, and allow utilities to rapidly deploy Smart Grids that are less expensive and more reliable. Our products include EMU™, a utility targeted in-home display (IHD) designed with simplicity and high-volume deployments in mind, and Orchid™, an energy services platform that serves as a low-cost gateway between the utility and the consumer.
Energy Monitoring Unit
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Rainforest Automation’s EMU™ – Energy Monitoring Unit is an In-Home Display designed specifically to meet the technical and budget requirements of utility deployments. The EMU™ has a simple user interface, runs on standard AA batteries, and displays real-time usage, accumulated statistics and provides a peak pricing “traffic-light”. With its 2-way link to the smart meter, EMU can support custom features such as pre-payment, opt-out, and messaging response.
Silver Spring Networks, the leader in IP networking, connects utilities with their customers over a two-way, IP based network, enabling innovation and change. Utilities can enhance the way they interact with customers. Customers are empowered to manage their energy more efficiently. Using this IP-based network, utilities can deploy a scalable, reliable infrastructure from the substation to the customer premise and implement advanced metering, demand response and other applications at a fraction of comparable costs. An open, IP -based network lowers not just capital costs, but total cost of ownership. When planning the network of tomorrow, it helps to partner with a company that makes it available today
Interactive Energy Management
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The Silver Spring CustomerIQ web portal by Greenbox delivers near real-time data on their energy efficiency programs, including consumption and pricing
Telegesis develops and manufactures advanced wireless products to provide low cost, high performance solutions. Telegesis ZigBee ready Module and Development Kit is based upon Ember Corporation’s meshing technology and is the first in a family of products, others of which are already at prototype testing stage. Our low cost Development Kit enables an out-of-the-box mesh network in less than half an hour. Telegesis range of ZigBee products will aid rapid development and integration into OEM products through the provision of complete ‘plug-in’ modules. Telegesis AT-style command line interface software further speeds and facilitates the building of total solutions.
ETRX2USB & ETRX2USB-PA ZSE IHD
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ETRX2USB ZSE-IHD In Home Display – The Telegesis ETRX2USB ZSE-IHD is a high performance 2.4GHz ZigBee transceiver in USB stick form which is supplied loaded with ZigBee Smart Energy (ZSE) IHD firmware. The unit is a fully certified In Home Display and can be supplied with Certicom test or full certificates. An AT command layer on top of the ZSE IHD firmware allows a host application to easily control the stick.
Range Extender & Range Extender-PA
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Telegesis Smart Energy Range extender – The Telegesis Range Extender and Range Extender-PA are fully certified ZigBee Smart Energy (ZSE) units which enable increased distance between nodes in a ZigBee Smart Energy network. If the distance between nodes is too great for communication to be established. By adding one or more Routers in-between an extended ZSE mesh network can be formed.
Tendril focuses on network operations and deployment – the next big stage of the Wireless Sensor and Control Network industry. Our software allows companies to access, deploy, monitor, manage, and integrate networks into the real world. This approach allows Tendril to address the macro trends of energy efficiency, security and life expectancy.
Tendril Insight
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Tendril Insight is an in-home display that communicates with networked smart devices, such as thermostats, electricity meters and outlets, and displays information about consumption levels and energy rates. Empowered with real-time information, energy customers can potentially save money, while utilities can reduce customer service incidents and improve overall load balancing and demand response capabilities.
Tendril Relay
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Tendril Relay is a ZigBee device router that plugs into a standard household outlet. The Tendril Relay extends the range of a smart energy network, making it easier to access and connect devices in large homes and hard-to-reach places, like garages and sheds.
Tendril Transport
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Tendril Transport is an IP gateway that opens a new channel of interaction and collaboration between consumers and their utilities. The Tendril Transport delivers two-way information to consumers and utilities, providing insight into household energy footprints. With the Tendril Transport, customers gain more access to energy-related information and more control over energy consumption decisions. Utilities can better manage supply, demand response and load control scenarios, and costs.
Volt
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Tendril Outlet is a 3-prong, ZigBee Smart Energy electrical outlet that can be plugged into a standard home outlet to monitor and control the energy consumption of any electrical appliance or device. Multiple Tendril Outlets in the same home can be tracked individually or as a group over the Internet or from a local Tendril Display device. The Tendril Outlet gives the consumer unprecedented insight into and control over their household energy footprint, improving their overall energy efficiency.
Volt
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Tendril Volt is a three-prong, standards-based smart electrical outlet that can be plugged into a 110Volt/15A AC standard wall power outlet to turn off or on any connected electrical appliance or device. When used in conjunction with the Tendril Insight or the Tendril Vantage web portal, multiple outlets in the same home can be managed individually or as a group over the Internet, giving consumers unprecedented insight into and control over wasted energy and their household energy footprint.
Trilliant Networks, Inc. is the industry leader in open solutions for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), demand response, and grid management. The company is focused on delivering ANSI and IEEE standards-based AMI, without vendor lock-in, enabling choice of meter, network and IT infrastructures. Trilliant brings over 20 years’ experience solving AMI needs for utility customers through the legacy of its Nertec brand founded in 1985. Additionally Trilliant is the originator of the first ANSI tools for development, simulation and compliance now used by most meter manufacturers and AMI companies to develop and test ANSI meters as well as meter communication products. Trilliant has more than 100 utility customers including Baltimore Gas & Electric, Duke Energy, Hydro One, Hydro Quebec, Milton Hydro, Northeast Utilities, OneOK, Public Service Electric & Gas and San Diego Gas & Electric.
SecureMesh Micro Access Portal
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Trilliant SecureMesh™ Micro Access Portal is independent from the meter and can be embedded in any end-point device including thermostats, in-home displays, appliance controllers or meters. Trilliant’s SecureMesh AMI Network is based on the same IEEE 802.15.4 standard as ZigBee providing an end-to-end fully standards-based solution for energy applications.

EON now investing up to £12m in Smart Metering

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Smart Metering

From EON web site:

What’s it all about?

Smart Meters are a new type of energy meter, which offer a number of benefits to homes and businesses. At E.ON we’ve been carrying out various trials as part of our commitment to the changing energy market.

Smart Meters potentially offer reliable and accurate billing based on actual meter reads, which are collected remotely and removes the need for someone to read your meter manually.

What’s in it for the customer?

  • Saving time

    Unlike traditional meters, Smart Meters are read remotely. This means you won’t need to answer the door to meter readers, fill in a card or even provide readings online.

  • Saving money

By automating the whole process you’ll only be billed for the energy you’ve used – giving you more control and potentially saving you money. There will be fewer inaccurate estimated bills and meter reading mistakes.

  • Saving energy

More accurate readings also means that you’ll get better information about the energy you’ve used. Using these figures to change the way we use energy is another way we could help fight climate change. Along with our Consumption Tracker* service and Go Green product, we can really help you do your bit for the environment.

So what happens next?

We’re investing up to £12m in Smart Metering, keep an eye on this website for further updates.

Renewable energy with smart grid technology – The new complex relationship turning everthing upside down

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

The energy world is about to turn upside down. With the coming of smart grid, the electricity consumer customer becomes the electricity seller; the passive home appliance becomes the active energy manager; and the local 11KV DNO network becomes the power generation network itself.

Such an upheaval means that the energy world needs to start thinking about a new business model, says a recent report by IBM Global Business Services Energy and Utilities.

The fact that IBM is advising the energy industry is itself a point of interest, yet another signal of the new market opportunity emerging within the energy arena for information technology. This opportunity has drawn the attention of not only IBM, but also CISCO, Google and many others.

So how does IBM see the energy business model changing? First consider what it has been for the last century: a grow-and-build model. Utilities encouraged more and more consumption, and they built power plants and transmission to the far corners of the nation to serve the growing demand.

“The success of this strategy was remarkable. In the United States for example, from 1920 to the mid 1960s (excepting the period of the Great Depression), usage increased at seven percent annually – about five times the rate of usage of all forms of energy combined and three times the rate of economic expansion in general,” says the IBM report, “Switching perspectives: Creating new business models for a changing world of energy.”

But today we no longer need such expansion. The grow-and-build model is obsolete, yet continues to be used by utilities. As a result, utility stocks, which in the 1940s-1960s significantly outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, now lag well behind.

Instead of expanding their territory, utilities are being called upon to change their product — to offer energy that is more efficient and clean and service that is more consumer-friendly.

Smart grid technology can help utilities meet today’s imperative. But it brings with it a new and complex relationship between customer and utility. This is because smart grid allows consumers to control energy usage via a home computer. With smart buildings into the mix and their appliances can control energy usage without the consumer doing anything. And with increased use of solar energy and other distributed technologies, the home also becomes power plant and storage facility for the electric utility.

“Companies willing to tackle industry model innovation and sit at the nexus of new complex relationships among business partners and customers will be well positioned to create and capture new demand for emerging products and services. Strong growth in revenues and profits – albeit accompanied by some risks – is achievable in multisided business models because of the embedded network economies of scale (i.e., margins increase with network size),” says the report.

IBM calls this new business model “a multisided platform.” What does it look like?

“Manufacturers, retailers and shoppers all benefit from having a single location where they can meet and transact business. A wider variety of stores and services brings more shoppers; more shoppers bring higher sales volumes for manufacturers and lower costs for retailers (and, in theory, also lower prices for shoppers). Thus, some element of network economy is bundled into the shopping center value proposition. The platform owner (the shopping center operator) extracts some of this value in the form of rent to store owners and, in some cases, service fees to shoppers,” says the report.

If indeed this is the future, it won’t be embraced quickly or easily by utilities, which are notorious for their caution. For those who do move forward, here is some of what IBM advises.

Be sure your current customer base is sizable enough to ensure that you get a meaningful head start.

But don’t hurry. History has shown that later movers may actually benefit from standing back from the first wave of early adopters.

Time the announcement of your new business model carefully to avoid shocking long-time constituencies or alerting rivals too soon.

But in the UK, the cat has already leaped out of the bag!

The UK Regulator – Ofgem’s duty to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development promoted this duty, placing it on an equal footing with its duties to meet reasonable demand and financing authorised activities. The principle objective, to protect the interests of consumers, refers to future as well as existing consumers. These changes underline Ofgem’s important and developing role in shaping the future of gas and electricity industries in a sustainable manner.The UK is facing a future that involves increased geopolitical risks to energy security, potentially higher energy prices and the need to do much more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while making sure everyone can afford to adequately heat their homes.

While much of what is needed to deliver sustainability is not within the regulators direct control, a responsibility to facilitate change by engaging in the debate, trying to persuade relevant players to make changes where required and contributing information and expertise where it can.

Actions speak louder than words:

So whats already implemented in the UK?

  • Smart metering (CoP10) with import and export facilities – Coming to every home in the UK – See my blog on smart metering for more information
  • feed-in tariffs (FITs) for small-scale low-carbon electricity generation from 1 April 2010 – Customers own micro energy generation agreements connected to the local DNO grid – See FITs for more information
  • Climate Levy Tax incentives – Look at you next bill and spot this tax!
  • ROC’s – See my blog for more information
  • REGO – See my blog for more information
  • OGEMs – See my blog for more information
  • REC’s – See my blog for more information

The next step:

  • Informing the customer and proving ‘idiots’ guides to understand the available technologies and energy savings available.
  • Providing engineering design  and installation solutions.
  • The correct customer incentives to explore and implements these technologies.

CoP10 Metering

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Cop10 – Code of Practice specifically applies to metering of energy via low voltage circuits for Settlement purposes.

Metering Equipment compliant with this Code of Practice can be traded either elective Half Hourly (Measurement Class E) or Non-Half Hourly.

Crib Notes:

No supply capacity limitation’s now defined under this CoP10 document.

The limitations of use are now only the CT’s ratios selected / installed and the meters CoP10’s MOP configuration for customer use.

CoP10 can be include import and energy export metering facilities.

Cop10 can be used as Half Hourly (Measurement Class E) or Non-Half Hourly MOP use.

Only one requirement, it has to be a low voltage circuit being measured.

HV metering using Cop5 or Cop7 metering facilities.

For HV metering using CoP5 or CoP7 metering facilities

Currently the CoP10 can not be used as a replacement in this instance.

Vodafone supports British Gas smart metering

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

It has been announced that Vodafone UK has won a multi-million pound contract to work with British Gas in its roll-out of smart metering across the UK.As part of the deal, Vodafone will provide almost 1 million GPRS connections for household meters to help people monitor the gas they use. It is hoped that this will lead to cost savings for households and will lower C02 emissions, thus helping the environment.

In addition the new system will mean that meters can be read automatically. Gas users will no longer have to wait for someone to come and read their meter or receive estimated bills. They will be charged for exactly the energy they consume. This will provide nearly a million GPRS connections within household utility meters to send real-time energy use data back to British Gas.

Vodafone’s network in the UK will send real time data on energy use from the smart meter back to British Gas.

The announcement focuses in on the convenience as the main benefit.  Customers will no longer need to be in attendance for someone to read their meter, since bills will be automatically generated from the data sent back by the meter.  But this is the first stage of a process to enable customers to be much more aware of energy use in real time, with the potential to adjust usage accordingly.  Combined with differential tariffs in the future, it’s seen as an effective way to reduce energy use and hence emissions.Peter Kelly, Enterprise Director, from Vodafone UK, stated: “As the UK’s best network we are always improving services to make our customers’ lives easier.” He went on to say: ” We’re pleased to be working with British Gas on this trial to accelerate the roll-out of smart meters into British homes. Consumers can count on our fast, reliable network to help them manage their energy costs with British Gas and do their bit to help reduce carbon emissions.”

In December the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced its programme for the implementation of smart meters in the UK.  The plan is that all homes will have smart gas and electricity meters, supplied by their energy suppliers, by the end of 2020.  That’s 47 million meters in 26 million properties at a cost of £8.6bn.  This British Gas/Vodafone contract is a trial.

Two-fold surge in smart meter orders seen in UK as firms ready for the CRC

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

A massive surge in demand for non half hourly automated meters (AMRs) as firms rush to be ready for the new Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) legislation that comes in to play in the UK at the end of this month has been observed by carbon and energy consultancy IMServ.

In an average month, IMServ installs around 3,500 smart meters as part of its Business SMART service, the company said in a statement. However in March this year approximately 7,000 units are planned for install and already orders have been taken for a further 6,000 units for April.

In order to manage the number of orders IMServ has had to recruit ten more office staff and it has up to 100 technicians working round the clock, seven days a week to meet demand.

The CRC legislation is aimed to provide organizations in the public and private sectors with an incentive to reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions. Under the legislation organizations will be required to measure and monitor their energy consumption and to calculate their carbon emissions, and to buy allowances per tonne of CO2 that their organization is responsible for. The organizations also will form part of a league table ranking them in terms of how well they manage to reduce their carbon emissions.

“This huge surge in demand for the Business SMART service is in direct response to the CRC legislation and we expect this level of demand will continue into October this year,” commented IMServ managing director Steve Brown. “The penny has finally dropped with many businesses now realising that they need to step up to the plate and take this legislation seriously. If they don’t act now, companies could face large fines not to mention the knock on effect that poor performance in the league tables will have on their corporate reputation.”

Smart homes: Intelligent heating controls

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Intelligent heating controls (which can also control cooling, such as air conditioning) can be seen as a step beyond smart meters. Smart meters make people aware of their energy use, while intelligent heating controls allow residents to refine their energy use to heat and cool their home in the most efficient way possible.

Intelligent heating controls have two key areas of environmental benefit:

  1. improved control:
  • set time and area preferences, e.g. keeping bedrooms cooler than the rest of the house
  • control heating remotely and automatically turn it off when a house is empty

2. improved efficiency:

  • adjust when the heating switches on throughout the year and respond to outside temperature changes on a daily basis
  • detect occupancy levels to turn heat off in unoccupied areas
  • monitor temperature with a sensor in every room, not just one for the whole house
  • enable more efficient boiler operation

Enabling households to interact more closely with their heating controls, particularly when combined with information from smart meters, will help to raise awareness of energy use and prompt reductions, although this will rely on residents being motivated to engage with the system. But intelligent controls can also deliver energy savings independently of resident involvement by improving the efficiency of theway that heating systems operate. Further benefits will be the ability to integrate and optimise the efficiencies of low carbon systems like solar hot water heating.

Firm evidence on the expected energy savings is hard to obtain. Much of the industry does not have any evidence, as energy efficiency is not yet a selling point for their customers. Control systems in commercial buildings have delivered up to 30 per cent savings, but this is not expected in a domestic setting where systems are smaller and individuals have far greater control over the settings. Research is currently underway to clarify what the expected savings are likely to be. Once this is clearer, controls have the potential to become a serious option for improving a home’s energy efficiency, especially in existing homes where easier energy efficiency options may not be feasible or in homes where the easier options have already been implemented. They can be retrofitted with minimal disruption and will also become more attractive as people become familiar with other intelligent applications, like smart meters.

Smart electricity and gas meters

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Department of Energy and Climate Change

Smart electricity and gas meters

In October 2008 the Government announced its intention to mandate a roll out of electricity and gas smart meters to all homes in Great Britain. The aim is to complete the roll out by the end of 2020. The roll out of smart meters will be a major national project. It will involve a visit to every home and the replacement of some 47 million gas and electricity meters.

Smart meters pave the way for a transformation in the way energy is supplied and used. They will provide consumers with real-time information about energy use enabling them to monitor and manage their use. Consumers will receive accurate bills. Switching between suppliers will be smoother and faster and improvements in the delivery of energy efficiency advice will be supported.

Energy suppliers will be able to offer a wider range of services and tariffs and to manage their customer relationships better. Smart meters will also be an important step towards the development of a smart grid. Delivering improved network efficiency and responsiveness.

Smart meters will play an important role in our transition to a low-carbon economy. They will help us meet some of the long-term challenges we face in ensuring that Great Britain has an affordable, secure and sustainable energy supply.

Consultation

In May 2009 the Government consulted on proposals relating to the roll-out of smart meters to households and small and medium non-domestic sites. The consultation addressed some of the fundamental issues for the roll out. The Government’s response to the consultation was published on 2 December 2009. The response sets out the Government’s conclusions and decisions following the consultation, in particular its conclusions on:

  • delivery model for domestic smart meters (Section 2)
  • high-level smart functionality requirements for domestic electricity and gas meters (Section 3)
  • provision of a real-time display and information with a smart meter (Section 3)
  • approach on smart functionality requirements for non-domestic meters (Section 4)
  • implementation programme (Section 6)

In addition revised Impact Assessments for the domestic and non-domestic roll outs, and supporting analytical consultancy work have been published.

All documents relating to the consultation are available on the Consultation on Smart Metering for electricity and gas web page.

Implementation programme

The decisions set out in the Government’s response provide the platform for the detailed work to prepare the way for the start of the mandated roll out of smart meters (section 6). The implementation of smart metering will be the largest and most complex change-over programme in the energy industry since the switch to North Sea gas in the sixties and seventies. It will have a profound impact on the services that consumers receive from energy companies, as well as on vital activities such as settlement and network management.

A major central programme is required to design and implement new cross-industry arrangements, in co-ordination with the change programmes which industry participants will need to implement themselves. This Implementation Programme will touch all parts of the energy industry and careful design and planning are needed to maximise the benefits to consumers and industry, while driving down on the costs of installing and operating the new smart meters.

The first phase of the Smart Metering Programme will be a joint DECC / Ofgem initiative. DECC will chair an over-arching DECC / Ofgem Strategic Programme Board. This Board will provide the necessary strategic oversight and direction to the Programme during Phase 1. It will provide a high-level forum for ensuring the Programme is aligned with Government policy objectives for smart metering and Ofgem’s statutory duties, and consider interfaces with the Government’s wider policies.

Ofgem E-Serve[external Link] will manage and ensure effective delivery of the first phase of the Programme for DECC. Ofgem’s detailed knowledge of the workings of the energy market, its strong relationships with industry players and consumer bodies and its regulatory role, mean it is ideally placed to help design the arrangements for introducing smart metering effectively into the complex structure of the energy industry.

Briefing event

Ofgem will be hosting a stakeholder event on 16 December which will provide a briefing on initial plans for the Smart Metering Implementation Programme. Invitations for this event will be sent out separately by Ofgem.

Related documents

02 December 2009 – Press Release – UK energy system gets smart

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Department of Energy and Climate Change

02 December 2009 – Press Release – UK energy system gets smart

  • All homes will have smart meters from their supplier by end of 2020
  • Smart energy use will save consumers money, make electricity use more efficient and cut carbon emissions
  • The case for developing smart grids in the UK is also being published
  • £6 million to develop smart technology

Smart meters will be rolled out through energy suppliers to every home by the end of 2020 under final plans published today by Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt. A paper setting out the case for developing smart grids in the UK is also being published.

Lord Hunt said:

“A global climate deal in Copenhagen needs all countries to make the most ambitious commitments possible, but it will also require all of us to change how we lead our lives and how we generate our energy.

“Smart meters will put the power in people’s hands, enabling us all to control how much energy we use, cut emissions and cut bills.

“Smart grids will help manage the massive shift to low carbon electricity such as wind, nuclear and clean fossil fuels.

“Globally the business of developing smart grids has been estimated at £27 billion over the next 5 years and the UK has the know-how to be part of that.”

The Government’s response to the smart meter consultation sets out how smart meters will be rolled out across Britain by the end of 2020. This includes:

  • Making energy suppliers responsible for installing smart meters in their customers’ homes
  • Supplying a standalone display device with meters to make it easy for consumers to see and understand their energy use and carbon emissions in real time
  • Centrally coordinating the communications between smart meters and the utility companies to ensure easy switching between suppliers, and to provide a platform for the development of smarter grids in the future.

“Smarter Grids: The Opportunity”, also published today, makes the case for developing smart grids in the UK. Smart grids will give operators and consumers much more information about supply and demand of electricity – enabling more effective interaction between consumer needs and fluctuating supplies.

Specifically smart grids will:

  • Deliver electricity more efficiently and reliably – reducing the costs and emissions from electricity generation and transmission
  • Facilitate increased generation of low carbon electricity sources such as wind
  • With smart meters, give consumers more control and choice of when they use electricity allowing them to save money.

DECC is also providing £6 million to companies to continue developing smart technology such as electricity storage.

Notes to editors

  1. The response to the consultation: Towards a Smarter Future: government response to the consultation on electricity and gas Smart Metering can be found here: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/smart_metering/smart_metering.aspx
  2. The publication: Smarter grids: the opportunity can be found here: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/uk_supply/network/smart_grid/smart_grid.aspx
  3. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is central to the UK Government’s leadership on climate change. We are pushing hard for an ambitious global deal in Copenhagen in December to avert the most dangerous impacts. Through our UK Low Carbon Transition Plan we are giving householders and businesses the incentives and advice they need to cut their emissions, we are enabling the energy sector’s shift to the trinity of renewables, new nuclear and clean coal, and we are stepping up the fight against fuel poverty.

Energy suppliers are to be responsible for installing smart meters in all households in the UK by 2020

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Plans for smart meters for millions of homes have been unveiled with trials suggesting the £8bn scheme may help people save £28 a year.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change wants to see 47 million meters in 26 million properties by 2020.

It is hoped the technology will help people cut their energy bills by paying more attention to usage.

Smart meters have a visual display allowing customers to see exactly how much electricity and gas they are using and relay the data to energy firms automatically.

Energy use

Trials of smart meters have resulted in some people moderating their energy use.

ANALYSIS

John Moylan, BBC business reporter

The government had already announced that it wanted all UK homes to have smart meters by 2020.

What is new today is that, following a consultation period, it has now decided how that will happen.

The main energy suppliers will be responsible for the roll-out.

This was the government’s preferred option, although there was a debate in the industry over whether it could be done another way, for example by the regional electricity distribution companies.

The government has also outlined its early thinking on the buzzwords in the industry at the moment – smart grids.

Potential savings outlined already by ministers are only a fraction of the current average annual bill of more than £800 for gas and £445 for electricity.

The £28 a year figure for savings has been cited as a conservative estimate for a typical household.

But the DECC says case studies had shown people could reduce their bills by about £100 a year as the meters can encourage changes in behaviour.

“Smart meters will put the power in people’s hands, enabling us all to control how much energy we use, cut emissions and cut bills,” said Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt.

Savings

Energy suppliers, rather than distribution networks, will be responsible for the roll-out of the meters at a cost of about £340 per household.

They will be able to recoup the cost from customers through higher bills or upfront fees, but competition between suppliers is expected to ensure only some of the expense is passed on.

The companies stand to make big cost savings themselves, with the need for teams of meter readers becoming a thing of the past.

Martyn Hocking, from the consumers’ association Which?, said: “We are concerned that consumers could be saddled with the entire multi-billion pound bill for a project that is going to save the industry hundreds of millions of pounds a year.”

ENERGY SAVINGS

UK homes add £33 a year to bills by leaving appliances on standby

Every minute taken off a daily shower can shave between £5 and £10 off an annual energy bill

Lowering the room thermostat by 1% could save a householder around £65 a year

Source: Energy Saving Trust

The plans, which also confirm that each meter will include a standalone display device, were welcomed by the big energy companies.

“We are delighted the government is moving forward with its plans for the roll-out of this technology throughout Britain,” said British Gas managing director Phil Bentley.

“This will be the single biggest revolution in energy use since British Gas converted all the nation’s homes to natural gas in the 1970s.”

Mark Daeche, of energy company First Utility, said the mass roll-out of smart meters would not begin until 2013. But from next summer, all First Utility customers who elected to have a smart meter would be supplied with one.

He welcomed the format of giving suppliers the responsibility for the supply of meters instead of a system of regional franchises.

Smart grid

Plans have also been announced for a smart grid to manage the flows of electricity and to increase the use of renewable energy.

In the past the National Grid has delivered electricity from large power plants to our homes. In the future the grid will need to be much smarter, according to BBC business reporter John Moylan.

“Computers will have to handle more volatile sources of electricity, such as windfarms,” he said.

“They will also have to cope with micro-generation – consumers using solar panels or heat pumps to generate their own electricity and sell it back to the grid.”

From BBC web site

The government is unveiling plans for every home in Britain to be equipped with smart meters by the end of 2020.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

The government is unveiling plans for every home in Britain to be equipped with smart meters by the end of 2020.

The move has been met by a chorus of approval from the energy industry and by a consumer watchdog.

But how will this affect householders, and will it cost or save them money?

What is expected to happen?

The government wants every home in Britain to be installed with smart meters – a device that shows exactly how much gas and electricity is being used.

This should bring an end to estimated bills, because the technology could send back an accurate meter reading to your energy company every day.

According to the Energy Retail Association, which represents the energy companies, the technological advance would be the equivalent of using wireless broadband instead of sending a telegram.

No more estimates. Will that mean they get my bill correct?

There have been thousands of complaints from householders who claim they have been overcharged on direct debit bills.

Consumer groups said this meant energy suppliers were getting free loans from customers. In March, regulator Ofgem told the companies to make charges clearer but said there was no “systematic” abuse of the direct debit system.

Smart meters should put this debate to bed, and would mean that householders no longer need to let the gasman in to read the meter.

People might even by able to check their usage on the internet, or share tips for cutting bills on social networking websites.

But installing these meters will be a big job. Some 26 million electricity and 22 million gas meters will need to be fitted.

That sounds expensive. Who pays?

You will not receive a bill from your energy company for installing a new meter, but you will pick up some of the cost.

Industry estimates suggest that the total installation bill will be £7bn.

That amounts to about £15 per household per year between 2010 and 2020, but £10 of this will be covered from savings made by companies who no longer need to pay people to read meters, and the cost of dealing with complaints should fall.

That leaves £5 a year that would be put onto bills, but the industry thinks that – by keeping an eye on the meter – householders will cut their energy use and so reduce their annual bill by between £25 and £35.

These savings might come by changing habits such as switching off the television, rather than leaving it on standby.

Consumer groups are keen to see all the savings made by energy companies are passed on to the consumer, rather than just boosting their profits.

How do I get one of these meters?

There are trials of smart meters going on at the moment, so some householders have already got them.

There will be three months of consultation and, if the scheme is given the final go-ahead, it will be a huge job to replace the UK’s meters.

“Government should show leadership and make sure that this roll-out is joined up and the opportunity is not wasted,” said a spokesman for Consumer Focus, the consumer watchdog.

Under the plans, each home would get a new smart gas meter and a new electricity meter. One is the “host” meter, that will communicate with you and the supplier.

Will this make it more difficult to switch supplier to save on bills?

Your new smart meter might have your current supplier’s branding on it, but don’t be fooled.

They might look different, but all the meters should have the same specifications so if you want to switch suppliers you will not need to get a new meter installed.

Switching suppliers to get a better deal should be as easy as it is now.

You will not get a different meter if you pay in different ways – such as pre-payment or quarterly by cheque.

What about bills at business properties?

Large businesses should have smart meters within five years, according to the government.

Small businesses should get smart meters in the same timeframe as consumers.

From BBC Website

£12m for display meters for more sustainable schools

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009


Partnerships for Schools 26 November 2009

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, today announced a £12m investment in new energy display meters providing schools with real-time digital information about their electricity use from January next year.

From January 2010, primary and secondary schools across England will be able to apply for a meter which will give a second-by-second reading on how much electricity a building is using. Pupils and staff will be able to see immediately the impact of switching on and off individual pieces of electrical equipment, computers and lights on easy to read display monitors.

Partnerships for Schools will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of the new display meters project, working in partnership with British Gas, as the selected private sector partner.

Tim Byles, Chief Executive of Partnerships for Schools, said: “Pupils across England are some of the keenest sustainability champions around. In Building Schools for the Future schools where display meters are already in operation we have seen young people and teachers enthusiastically using this data to show how simple changes in behaviour can make a real difference.

“Research by the Carbon Trust shows that display meters and wider behavioural changes in using energy could see 10 to 15 per cent cuts in fuel bills – meaning the average one-form primary school could save up to £700 a year and the average 900-pupil secondary school more than £3,000 a year on fuel bills alone.

“But the use of this technology is also a great way to harness young people’s interest in the environment and embed behaviours which they can use beyond the school gates, and we look forward to seeing the difference that this important investment will make.”

Kanat Emiroglu, Managing Director of British Gas Business said:  “Building on our market leading position on smart metering, this major project is an excellent opportunity to combine British Gas’s energy services expertise with, our leading environmental schools’ programme, Generation Green. These display meter displays will provide the opportunity for teachers and pupils to learn about climate change, energy efficiency and carbon budgeting in an exciting and interactive way, whilst also allowing schools to manage and reduce their energy costs.”

The display meters project was announced today as part of the publication of the discussion document Securing Our Future – Using Our Resources Well.

The meters will be provided with software that allows clear, easy-to-read displays to a nominated PC in a prominent place within the school so that pupils, teachers and wider users of the school can monitor electricity use. Schools will be given instructions for how the meter should be used, and guidance on how it can support teaching and learning and raise awareness. School maintenance staff will also be able to use the data to inform decisions about how to make energy savings.

Notes to Editors:

  • PfS is the government’s delivery agent for the full suite of capital investment programmes into schools, helping ensure that taxpayers get the best value from every education pound spent.
  • PfS is responsible for the delivery of around £8bn investment into education until 2011– through Building Schools for the Future; the Academies programme; the Primary Capital Programme; and the Devolved and Targeted Capital Programmes.

Smart metering in the UK and you

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

New licence conditions for the supply of electricity and gas will be introduced on April 6 2009. These new conditions are an essential building block in the Government’s carbon reduction programme for the UK. Under these changes, all Profile Class 5-8 electricity meters, and all metered gas consuming over 732,000 kWh a year, must be replaced by smart meters.

The new metering standards for all Profile Class 5-8 meters will be CoP10 for whole current and CoP5 for CT meters. Customers have until 2014 to change their meters, but any smart meter installed as from the New Year must comply with this new metering code of practice.

Does this affect you?
To find out if your meters need to be changed, take a look at your electricity bill. This will contain an ‘S’ number that tells you which electricity Profile Class you are in.

According to BERR/DECC, the new meters must ‘store measured electricity consumption data for multiple time periods; and at least half hourly’ and they must ‘provide remote access to such data by the licensee’. BERR/DECC also state that ‘timely’ access to the data from the meter must be given to the customer. Government guidance is that ‘timely’ should be day + 1.

But, just because suppliers will now have to give you access to your meter data, it doesn’t mean they should let you have it for free.

Access to data
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is advising the public sector not to sign up to a supplier contract where metering is conditional on the agreement. They believe this ‘limits competition and the ability to negotiate energy contracts in the future’.

Continuity of data is fundamental to achieving carbon savings. So, the best route is to go appoint an independent provider of metering and data services. This will allow you to change supplier without being bound by any metering and data service, and without losing any of your meter data during the supplier change over.

Interoperability
The Government believes proprietary metering systems are not good for market choice. Therefore, BERR/DECC are calling for open systems, so that any data collector can collect from any metering system – just like in the half hourly market. The benefit of having open systems is that it will greatly improve consumer choice.

Switch sooner rather than later
Mandatory smart metering by 2014 will affect around 170,000 electricity meters and 40,000 gas meters in the UK. If this includes your organisation, then it’s in your interest to switch to smart metering sooner rather than later, because the half hourly meter data you will have access to will enable you to see exactly where and when energy waste is occurring. It’s only when you have this detailed information that you can start to introduce effective measures to eliminate waste and reduce carbon emissions.

Will you be caught in the Carbon Reduction Commitment?
Currently, there are 110,000 meters in the half hourly market. The requirement for mandatory smart metering in electricity Profile Classes 5-8 and annual gas usage of 732,000 kWh or over means a tripling in the number of half hourly meters by 2014. Any organisation which has introduced half hourly metering and which uses more than 6,000 megawatt hours a year (or around £1/2m at today’s prices) will now be caught in the net of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC). So, if you thought your organisation was going to slip under the radar of the CRC, you may need to revisit this assumption.

As a reminder, the CRC is a mandatory carbon trading scheme that will be introduced in 2010. Its aim is to cut carbon emission by 1.2 million tonnes in the UK by 2020. You can find out more on DECC’s website: www.decc.gov.uk

The CRC will be a bonus and penalty scheme, with organisations in the top half of the ‘league table’ being paid a bonus. So, it’s not all bad news: with your smart metering system in place, you will be able to eliminate energy waste – which puts you in a much stronger position to win regular CRC bonuses.

Save up to 12% on your energy bills
If you think smart metering will increase your costs, reconsider. Smart metering has reduced in price significantly over the last twelve months and the difference between the cost of monthly manual reads and the cost of obtaining remote reads and online half hourly data has narrowed dramatically.

According to the Carbon Trust, introducing smart metering can actually save you money. Last year, they undertook smart metering trials and the results showed that smart metering, when combined with consumption data and energy-saving advice, gave potential average savings of 12% a year.

It’s in your interest to go ‘smart’

To sum up, if you are in electricity Profile Class 5-8 or you consume over 732,000 kWh of gas a year, your current meters must be replaced by smart meters by 2014. This is mandatory, so you will be obliged to invest in this. However, it is in your interest to do so, as there are significant energy savings to be made with smart metering. And the savings you make will all go towards meeting the UK’s carbon emission targets. All in all, smart metering gives you an outstanding return on your investment.

Energy Transformation Technologies

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

The energy utilities industry is very conservative. The combination of long asset life and the absolute priority on safety and reliability has meant that many of the technologies have not changed radically since the 1950s.

Now that is changing. Faced with the rapid shift in energy-consumption patterns, the move to green energy solutions and the evolution of communications technologies, utilities are reassessing their energy delivery strategies.

This article explores the pressures that this industry is facing. It takes a look at how two of the big technology changes — smart grids and smart metering — mandate the need for a cohesive communications strategy.

The Industry Pressures

There are four fundamental pressures on today’s utilities:

  • The changing pattern of electricity consumption, driven by the extensive proliferation of air conditioning resulting in the peak period of electricity consumption moving to the heat of summer.
  • The move toward green energy solutions, epitomized by the European Commission, which requires (among other things) 20% renewable energies in overall EU energy consumption by 2020.1 This is not uniquely European: politicians everywhere are pressuring utilities to accommodate environmental change.
  • Consumers and regulators alike are demanding highly reliable energy delivery, vital in maintaining an efficient national economy.
  • Financial stakeholders require better operational efficiency. Large-scale investment in new energy infrastructure is to be avoided where feasible. Given that the basic electricity infrastructure lacks the flexibility to track swiftly changing market pressures, utilities are examining two complementary approaches to increasing the efficiency of their networks:
  • Intelligent networks
  • Smart metering

Intelligent Networks

Intelligent networks (a term covering smart grids, substation automation and distribution automation) aim to improve the utilization of the network assets by monitoring and controlling them far more closely than previously possible. For example:

  • Make the energy-carrying capacity of a network dynamic by measuring in real time climatic conditions such as instantaneous temperature or the cooling effect of the wind, thus enabling better network utilization.
  • Today’s distribution networks have little real-time measurement or control. Intelligent technologies will provide a far more accurate picture of demand, energy flows and network incidents, yielding a major improvement in energy reliability and asset utilization.
  • The modern techniques of “condition monitoring” — monitoring the network assets for telltale signs of performance degradation — allow a very accurate forecast of equipment failures to be built. This means that assets can be replaced on a just-in-time basis, delivering significant investment savings and increased energy reliability. The benefits of intelligent energy networks are huge. They extend the lifetime of the assets, optimize power flows, increase energy reliability and enable investment to be focused where it is most needed.

Smart Metering

Smart metering is primarily intended to make consumers more conscious of energy consumption, thus leading to reduced consumption during peak periods and an overall reduction in the production of greenhouse gases.

Informing the user is merely the first step: facilitating the desired action by consumers requires two other capabilities:

  • The use of tariffs to encourage energy consciousness (whereby high instantaneous demand during periods of peak demand is charged a premium price)
  • Direct control of major household appliances

Smart metering brings its own set of challenges. This is a new application using new technologies — the smart meters, the communications network to access millions of devices and the platform to manage them.

Communications as the Key Enabler

As stated above, the technologies used in the energy networks have not changed radically since the 1950s. Thus, communications networks have, in general, been built up over several decades using ad hoc, application-specific technologies, with little network sharing and, in many cases, with little management or control.

To deliver the benefits of intelligent networks and smart metering, a homogeneous, reliable, flexible communications infrastructure is essential. Today, it is feasible to create a single cohesive network that will support:

  • Latency-critical applications such as teleprotection
  • Existing modem-based SCADA applications
  • Intelligent network and smart metering applications using modern communications protocols
  • IEC61850 Ethernet-based services for future automation applications
  • Other future applications, such as closed-circuit TV (CCTV) for physical security, which will expect the latest communications protocols to be supported This results in a typical infrastructure as shown in Figure 1.


In this architecture, the multi-service optical transport layer ensures the support of both mission-critical operations such as teleprotection services, with their very tight technical requirements, and existing applications using traditional TDM-based protocols. Simultaneously, it efficiently transports packet-based data for new services and applications on the same infrastructure.

The IP/MPLS layer supports new packet-based applications traffic, including substation automation, smart metering and security services with a virtualized network using Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs. Corporate voice, video and data applications can also be supported, with traffic management features ensuring that mission-critical operational traffic is given priority.

This network architecture delivers high reliability with secure support of mission-critical operations traffic. The associated end-to-end management capability makes this network easy to manage, allowing utilities to lower the skill barrier for staff.

It has allowed existing applications to be migrated and supported without disruption and has enabled systems operators to realize the consequent efficiency and reliability improvements.

For those starting down the road to energy network transformation, experience suggests a number of steps:

  • By starting with the high-voltage substations, a modernized multi-service TDM and Ethernet transport footprint can be established that will support all utility services.
  • Substation transformation to Ethernet services will be driven by asset life cycle management or new plant construction. New Intelligent Electrical Devices will simply plug in to the transport footprint established earlier.
  • Distribution automation and smart metering should be considered as complementary activities (where the regulatory regime permits). In this way, an access network can be built that supports both these applications in a single, cohesive network. This requires that the complete future access requirements are considered at the outset of the project, otherwise utilities risk perpetuating application-specific, vertically integrated networks, thereby aggravating communications inefficiency.

Conclusion

Energy utilities are on the cusp of the first real technology change in network and metering technologies since the 1950s. This change is predicated on the requirement for a robust, reliable and flexible communications network that will support existing mission-critical applications as well as the evolution to modern smart grid and smart metering technologies.



Europe’s first ‘intelligent city’

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

AMSTERDAM GETS SMART WITH ACCENTURE

Accenture has been chosen by Amsterdam to run a scheme designed to create Europe’s first ‘intelligent city’.

The aim of the Amsterdam Smart City programme is to introduce sustainable and economically viable projects that will help Amsterdam reduce its carbon footprint and meet the European Union’s 2020 emissions and energy reduction targets. Among the projects to reduce energy consumption are a smart electric grid, smart meters and in-home feedback displays, smart building technologies and electric vehicles.

Accenture will work on the programme in partnership with the Amsterdam Innovation Motor, a city-affiliated agency that will build public and private sector co-operation to support Amsterdam Smart City.

Accenture’s European leader for smart grids, Maikel van Verseveld, commented: “Because cities are the world’s major source of carbon emissions, they must play a leadership role in energy management and electricity consumption by uniting the private and public sectors. Accenture’s role is to facilitate this integration and build and manage the intelligent infrastructure that will transform the urban environment.”

Joke van Antwerpen, director of the Amsterdam Innovation Motor, said: “We chose Accenture for its innovative thinking in helping city authorities and utilities come together in responding to climate change challenges, as well as its expertise in smart grid and smart metering technologies.”

Smart Homes: Use new and existing policy mechanisms to support smart features

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Various policy mechanisms already exist that could support smart features, particularly once their benefits are better understood. These will help to raise the profile of smart features and firmly place them in the range of options available for lowering the environmental impact of homes. Some new approaches will also help to support smart features.

The existing policy mechanisms discussed are:

  • home information packs
  • the code for sustainable homes
  • building regulations
  • energy efficiency commitment
  • energy end-use efficiency and energy services directive

The new mechanisms discussed are:

  • a strategy for existing stock
  • an intelligent buildings rating

Home Information Packs (HIPs)
HIPs are mandatory when selling homes with three or more bedrooms and a roll out to the rest of the market is expected at some point. HIPs are prepared by sellers for homebuyers and include an energy performance rating, based on the fuel costs of running a home, and an environmental impact rating, based on carbon dioxide emissions. Both ratings will be familiar to people, as they are the same design as the energy efficiency ratings seen on white goods. The assessment process set out the running costs of a home and the intention is to make low impact, energy efficient homes more desirable because of their lower running costs.

Homes will receive ratings from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) with specific aspects of the homes, such as the walls or roof, rated separately and the running costs broken down into heating, lighting etc. The assessment will include recommended measures to improve energy efficiency and the expected cost savings. Sellers do not have to achieve a certain rating in order to sell their home, but this could change and would be a key way to incentivise environmental improvements.

Alternatively, purchasers could be required to implement a certain number of the assessment’s recommendations within two years of purchase. This would increase the market for a wide variety of energy saving options and, with a solid evidence base in place, smart features will be a useful addition to the range of options available to homeowners.

Smart features and HIPs
Smart meters are likely to assist the rating process, as they will be measuring, recording and displaying a home’s resource use. But if smart features are to become a viable option for homeowners looking to improve their rating, the assessment process will have to recognise them as ways of improving environmental performance.

CLG did consider including smart features in the assessment process but they settled on measures that deliver guaranteed levels of energy saving, whereas definitive values can not yet be assigned to smart features. This is a fast changing area though and the list of features included can change. Further research will strengthen the case for smart features and other features will have to be included once conventional options like wall insulation become more widespread.

The assumptions behind the energy ratings present a more fundamental barrier, as they assume certain conditions in a home in order to compare the energy savings delivered by different options. But smart features deliver savings in a different way. Rather than assuming that a home is heated to 18ºC for 16 hours per day on a weekend (as the assessment does) and then comparing savings, the benefit of smart features is that a whole home would not be heated unnecessarily if only a few rooms are in use, or if people are not even at home. The impact of behaviour change on the savings delivered will also need to be considered.

The assessment process will therefore have to become more flexible so that it can recognise the environmental benefits of smart features. But it is crucial that it does, as the assessments in HIPs are one of the few mechanisms that cover new and existing homes, where smart features have a lot to offer.

Require homes to achieve certain energy and environmental performance ratings before they can be sold and recognise smart features in the assessment process as ways to achieve an improved rating.

Code for sustainable homes
The code came into effect in April 2007 and sets national standards for the sustainability of new homes. It has six levels, with minimum standards of energy and water efficiency that have to be achieved at each level, as well as a range of additional points that can be gained for other sustainability measures. The code covers:

  • energy/carbon performance
  • water use
  • materials
  • surface water run off
  • waste
  • pollution
  • health and well being
  • management
  • ecology

After a positive response to the CLG’s proposal to make a code rating mandatory, they are consulting on further details. Developers can have their homes assessed against the code and inform purchasers of the level achieved.

Alternatively, purchasers will be informed that their home only meets building regulations standard and effectively has a zero rating against the code. This aims to raise awareness of a home’s environmental features among consumers and make sustainability a greater factor in decision-making. To avoid confusion, the rating will be linked with the energy performance assessment of new homes and is likely to be presented in HIPs.

Homes will not be required to meet a certain level of the code. But the government’s 2006/07 consultation, Building a greener future: towards zero carbon development proposes strengthening the building regulations in line with the code so that, over time, new homes automatically reach ever higher levels of the code just by meeting building regulations.

The consultation suggests strengthening the building regulations to achieve a:

  • 25 per cent improvement by 2010 = all new homes meet code level 3
  • 44 per cent improvement by 2013 = all new homes meet code level 4
  • zero carbon by 2016 = all new homes meet code level

Is the code smart?
Smart features are not singled out in the code’s assessment as a way of gaining additional points, but this could change when the savings delivered by smart features become clearer.

The real opportunity for smart features in relation to the code lies in the minimum energy and water efficiency standards at each level. As the building regulations get tougher and higher standards of the code have to be met it will get increasingly challenging to build homes that meet the minimum requirements for each level.

Once house builders have included the easier options for improving energy and water efficiency they will be looking for solutions that enable them to deliver the further improvements that they require. Smart home proponents believe that they will be able to offer the final set of savings that house builders will be looking for.

This view is also reflected in the Technology Strategy Board’s motivation for looking at smart features, as they are aware that the building industry will need support in meeting the challenges presented by these policy proposals. As with the energy and environmental assessments of homes discussed above, the code will have to display flexibility in incorporating smart features into the process and recognising their benefits. But it is vital that it does, as smart features will have an increasingly important role to play the higher the level of the code that builders have to meet.

Building regulations
Merging the building regulations with the code for sustainable homes provides a significant opportunity for the take up of smart features, but these developments will only cover new homes. There are also opportunities for using the regulations to improve the energy performance of existing stock.

Amendments to the Sustainable and Secure Buildings Act allow CLG to require homes that are changing occupancy or doing large scale building work to bring the rest of the home up to the building regulations standard on conserving fuel and power. So far, CLG has not chosen to enact this.

Other suggestions include requiring homeowners building extensions or doing significant refurbishment to bring the rest of their home up to a certain energy efficiency standard (based on the code or the energy performance assessment in HIPs). This would guarantee whole-home improvements in energy efficiency and smart features will be a good solution in homes where that is a challenge.

Apply the energy efficiency aspects of the building regulations to the whole home when extensions are being built or significant refurbishment done.

Energy efficiency commitment (EEC)
EEC requires all energy suppliers with over 50,000 customers to deliver energy savings in their customer’s homes. This contributes to carbon emission reduction targets by improving the energy performance of existing homes. Suppliers are given an energy saving target proportionate to their customer base and are currently working to EEC phase 2 targets.

EEC 1 ran from 2002 – 2005 and suppliers exceeded the required savings
EEC 2 ran from 2005 – 2008 with a target more than double that of EEC 1
EEC 3 is runing from 2008 – 2011 and will change to a carbon emission reduction target

EEC3 will become known as the carbon emission reduction target (CERT) from 2008 and will require a further doubling of EEC2 targets. EEC credits various energy efficiency measures with delivering certain amounts of carbon emission reductions and the measures covered by CERT have already been finalised. Smart heating controls are included, but the clear winners are still options like cavity wall insulation. This has been the method of choice for meeting EEC targets so far and, given the savings it delivers, its low cost and the 10 million homes still without it, it is likely to remain so for some time.

CERT does however provide some opportunity for smart features, as discussed above.

Suppliers will be allowed to meet a limited portion of their commitment through ‘innovation activity’ that explores measures whose carbon savings are still uncertain, and where savings depend on behavioural change. Suppliers will not be penalised if they fail to deliver the expected savings and once carbon savings are established, the measures in question can be added to the general range of measures recognised by EEC/CERT. This mechanism is ideal for exploring smart features, as many of them involve behaviour change and require further research to better understand the savings they will deliver.

The future of CERT up to 2020 also provides a strong driver for smart meters. The government envisages energy companies working with customers to reduce energy use, with a new business model that makes this a profitable activity. But suppliers will only be able to achieve this if they have the frequent and accurate data on how their customers use energy that smart electricity meters will provide. Without them, energy companies will not be able to evolve into the energy service companies envisaged by government.

Introduce provisions to ensure that suppliers take advantage of the innovation activity element of CERT and use it to trial smart features. Energy end-use efficiency and energy services directive. This EU directive was agreed in November 2005 and was implemented in2008. As long as it is financially reasonable, it requires:

  • the installation of meters (new or replacement) that accurately reflect energy consumption and provide information on time of use
  • billing based on actual consumption that is presented simply and frequently enough for customers to regulate energy consumption

The directive is an ideal opportunity to promote smart electricity meters, as they are the only solution that will allow both increased information on energy use for consumers while enabling suppliers to provide accurate bills. Smart electricity meters are also crucial to the future of smart homes in general. Some pressure is  on the government seize the opportunity presented by this directive and to provide a mandate for a smart electricity meter roll, with a requirement for smart electricity meters in all homes within 10 years. The roll out will not happen immediately, but it is a critical first step that will enable energy companies to start making real progress.

Provide a mandate for smart electricity meters being requiring homes to have one fitted within ten years. Include clear milestones and require the provision of free real time display options to all homes to illustrate consumption.

A strategy for existing stock
Smart features can make a useful contribution to lowering the environmental impact of existing homes, because of the challenges they present to many of the easier, more conventional options. The code for sustainable homes provides a comprehensive approach to environmental impacts for new homes and the same thoroughness would be welcomed when looking at existing homes.

It would be helpful to bring the various policy mechanisms that can incentivise environmental improvements in existing homes into a comprehensive strategy. CLG’s review of the sustainability of existing stock may be a precursor to this, but existing homes will need to be addressed in a more strategic way if they are to make a real contribution to the UK’s carbon reduction targets. And a coherent strategy is required if the goverments ambition of all homes becoming zero carbon over the next decade is to be realised.

Develop a strategy for improving the environmental performance of existing homes so that they can contribute to reducing domestic carbon emissions.

An intelligent buildings rating
TAHI is exploring the idea of an intelligent buildings rating and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) is also working with BERR to develop one. Some countries already have this, such as Japan and South Korea, but they assess the number of smart features in a building, rather than the business and lifestyle improvements that the technologies support. BRE aims to focus more on what smart homes enable. As smart features in homes become more common a smart rating could be included in HIPs. It would make a home’s intelligence an increasingly key feature in decisions, in the same way that existing policies aim to raise awareness of a home’s environmental performance.

With the consideration of including an intelligent buildings rating in HIPS as smart features develop.

Smart water meters

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

The development of smart water meters has also not progressed as quickly as smart electricity meters, as the debate on whether to universally meter water is still underway.

Only a quarter of UK homes are currently metered and a negligible percentage of these have smart water meters.

The potential environmental benefits of smart water meters are their ability to:

  • reduce consumption
  • reduce peak demand
  • detect leaks and increase efficiency

Metering trials conducted since 1970 have consistently resulted in water use falling by 5 – 21 per cent. It is generally assumed that water meters can reduce demand by an average of ten per cent by making people more aware of how much water they use. Smart water meters have the added benefits of being able to provide more detailed information on consumption and presenting it in a more user-friendly way, as well as enabling variable charging to reduce peak demand.

The size of the UK’s water system (number of reservoirs and pipes) is determined by peak demand in the summer, but it is driven by a small percentage of the population with very high consumption. Their use requires higher capital investment in infrastructure, with the associated environmental impacts, and the costs are passed on to the whole population. It would be preferable to introduce a higher tariff in summer which would be applied above a certain level of use. People would therefore pay more for discretionary use (e.g. excessively watering gardens or filling paddling pools every day), which is likely to reduce overall demand. Smart meters would be required for this, as ‘dumb’ ones would not able to assess consumption patterns against the seasons and differentiate between discretionary and necessary use if, for example, consumption is high because of large family.

Smart water meters can also detect leaks in homes by measuring flow rate. Current estimates suggest that one third of water leaks are in domestic properties, where customers are responsible for them. A smart water meter could highlight them and prevent ongoing wastage once the leaks are mended.

Progress so far
Water companies have been looking at water meters more thoroughly due to increasingly frequent water shortages and the potential for smart water meters to help reduce capital investment requirements is a further incentive. The Environment Agency aims for 70 per cent of homes to have water meters by 2030 and the water industry is in general agreement with this. If they are to go for water meters on this scale it makes sense to go straight to smart ones, although not all will. Companies are also mindful of the EU Energy End Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive and the possibility that similar metering and billing requirements will be placed on them, which makes smart meters yet more attractive.

Work is underway on developing a common data specification for smart water meters but the regulator, Ofwat, needs to be confident that meters will deliver a ten per cent reduction in water demand to justify passing the costs of smart meters on to consumers. This highlights the need for more consistent and sustained research to confirm the data.

And even with sound evidence of a ten per cent drop in consumption from a trial, unexpected weather may still change peoples’ behaviour. They may be willing to pay far more for water to maintain their gardens during a very hot summer, despite more expensive variable tariffs, than a trial that took place in a mild summer may suggest. Suppliers need to have confidence that consumption will fall, whatever the weather, as it will influence decisions about whether to invest in additional water supply capacity.

Progress is required to confirm the extent of the savings that smart water meters offer and to address the complexities created by uncertainty about peoples’ behaviour. But they will be the missing piece that will provide households with a full picture of their resource use alongside smart electricity and gas meters.

Smart gas meters

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Smart gas meters have had far less focus and have frequently been considered in conjunction with smart electricity meters. Once smart electricity meters are in place the easiest way to provide consumers with consumption information on gas would be for the gas meter to share the electricity meter’s display unit. Rolling out smart electricity meters is therefore the crucial first step in getting smart gas meters and dual fuel households will probably be the initial focus.

Three quarters of domestic carbon emissions come from heating and hot water use, but this consumption will only register with people when their gas consumption is displayed alongside their electricity use. So smart gas meters, with their ability to raise awareness of consumption and to prompt reduced use, will be needed in order to make real inroads into reducing domestic energy use. They will also help to maximise the potential of other smart features, such as intelligent heating controls.

Information on daily gas usage combined with the ability to control it better will have a significant impact on peoples’ consciousness of their heating and hot water use. So far though, little research has been done to explore these savings.