Tag: electricity

Tonik Energy partners Powervault for ‘storage tariff’ trial

Independent utility Tonik Energy is to partner with battery storage manufacturer Powervault to trial a new ‘storage tariff’ in the UK market.

The collaboration will place domestic Powervault batteries in the homes of Tonik Energy customers with smart meters and place them on a tariff that incentivises them to charge during off-peak times and draw down from the battery when electricity is at its most expensive.

Tonik Energy said its aim was to halve customer bills by 2022 and that the trial with Powervault marked an “important step” towards it.

Source: Clean Energy News

Read the full article

METER – insights into the timing and flexibility of electricity usage

METER is a national research project to understand what we use electricity for. And anyone can take part.

meter

This study asks thousands of UK households to submit a one day record of their activities. During this day their electricity use is also measured minute by minute.

The combination of activity and electricity data can gives valuable insights into the timing and flexibility of electricity. METER data is intended to help with the development of new approaches to reduce demand at critical times, while avoiding inconvenience for users. METER will test different forms of incentives and interventions to establish an evidence base for load shifting against a statistically robust baseline.

This becomes especially important when trying to make better use of variable renewable sources of electricity. By identifying a load shifting potential of only 1kW (half the power of a washing machine) in 1% of UK households, the national cost saving could easily exceed a quarter of a billion pounds.

The scale of the project is made possible by the innovative use of smart phones.

Here is an example of my (Peter Bates) household’s energy usage on 21/22 September 2016. (Note we do have Solar PV and did not use the washing machine that day). You can clearly see the peak usage during the cooking of the evening meal.

meter-energy-usage-pjb

More information on the METER Project and take part in the research.

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Get the latest METER Project newsletter Autumn 2016

Research finds that SuperHomes use 40% less energy

Detailed research into the energy use of SuperHomes reveals that, on average, they are using 40% less energy per square metre per year than the average UK home. SuperHomes are, therefore, much cheaper to run than their unrefurbished neighbours.

Chester SuperHome
Chester SuperHome. Whilst bills are similar to the owner’s previous home, that home was half the size!

The most energy efficient home in the study, whilst offering improved comfort, uses a staggering 86% less energy than the average home.

One of the participants in this research, Simon Brown, is no stranger to the benefits of retrofit. He says “After the first year, we were pleasantly surprised to find our total gas and electricity bill was slightly less than in our previous home, which was half the size.”

So, whilst low-carbon and low-energy don’t necessarily go hand in hand, this study confirms that SuperHomes excel in both respects.

The research report shows that an average SuperHome:

  • Is over 40% more energy-efficient than the average UK home in its energy use per square metre per year.
  • Consumes about 19% less total energy than the average UK home each year, despite having a larger than average floor area and a higher than average occupancy, and being older than an average house building.
  • Uses 104kWh of energy per square metre per year, compared with a national average of 177kWh/m2/yr.
  • Consumes a total of 14,722kWh of energy per annum, compared with an average household consumption of 18,100kWh.
  • Achieves an incredible average reduction of 72% in carbon emissions, based on comparisons between pre- and post-retrofit emissions

The most energy-efficient SuperHome in the survey (refurbished to the exacting Passivhaus standard) was found to use just 25kWh/m2/yr, an impressive 86% less than the national average.

Gabby Mallett, Director of SuperHomes and Households and Communities at the National Energy Foundation, commented:

“Many people assume that a low-carbon home is also a low-energy one. However, this is not necessarily the case … it’s fantastic to discover that many SuperHomes have not only gone much further than a 60% carbon reduction, but they’ve achieved great results on energy too.”

SuperHomes are older homes refurbished by their owners to deliver a carbon saving of at least 60%. The owners host free open days in September to share the benefits and the challenges of home refurbishment.

Researchers at the National Energy Foundation (NEF) calculated the energy and carbon figures for a representative sample of the existing 205 SuperHomes, by per person per year, and by per square metre of floor space per year. Using the 2012 National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework (NEED) sample, NEF was able to make comparisons between an average SuperHome and the average UK home with the same number of occupants or of the same size.

Read the Energy Efficiency Benchmarks for SuperHomes Report

Why does a real person come to read my Smart Meter?

A few days ago, I was surprised to get a visit a home from a meter reader, who had come to read my gas and electricity smart meters. Both meters had been replaced on behalf my utility company – Ovo Energy last March 2015 – with smart meters that take readings every 30 minutes!!

So why does a real person have to come to read my smart meters?

smart meter

After some investigation with the very helpful Ovo Energy Customer Service Team, I have now discovered why. After all it would seem pointless installing expensive smart meters and then employ someone to visit the house to take the meter reading. Ultimately, I as the consumer would be paying more. And the current UK government – energy efficiency policy – appears to be focused on encouraging the Utility companies to charge consumers less.

It appears that under current legislation, utility companies as part of their licence conditions to operate have an obligation to supply energy have to:-

  • check for evidence of deterioration that might affect the safety or proper functioning of the meter,
  • check for evidence of tampering or theft, and
  • take a physical meter reading to ensure accurate customer bills.

Ofgem produced a consultation paper and invited comments during a consultation period which closed in September 2015. Their position was:-

“that health and safety obligations in legislation and industry codes, and recently enhanced theft detection and billing accuracy supply licence obligations, are more effective and proportionate ways to achieve the desired policy objectives of meter inspections. We expected repealing the licence conditions would improve competition in the retail energy market. We also thought that repeal would have the greatest potential to enable cost savings from smart meters.”

Ofgem’s preferred option is to:-

“repeal the meter inspection supply licence conditions. This is because we think other regulations and policies, including safety obligations and recently enhanced theft detection and billing accuracy obligations offer more effective and proportionate protections for consumer interests.”

The full Ofgem original Consultation paper can be found here and the final consultation paper here.

These modifications would come into effect on 1 April 2016, subject to appeals made within 56 days from the date Ofgem publish the decision notices.

So home consumers with Smart Meters will no longer get a visit from a Utility Meter Reader – and perhaps bills might go done a bit?

Peter Bates

PS The Meter Reader that came out did not know how to read the Smart Electric Meter!! So how easy is this for consumers? Ovo Energy then sent me the details of which button to press to read the data collected. It turns out that this is quite comprehensive. It’s a pity their current display readers , don’t show all this information! However, Ovo Energy admit they are not as good as they expected and there are plans to upgrade these devices.

New direction for UK energy policy

UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd has set out her vision for an energy system that puts consumers first, delivers more competition, reduces the burden on bill-payers and ensures enough electricity generation to power the nation.

s300_department-of-energy-climate-change

It focuses on:-

  • Consultation on ending unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025
  • New gas-fired power stations a priority
  • Commitment to offshore wind support completes commitment to secure, low-carbon, affordable electricity supplies
  • Move towards a smarter energy system

See full press release