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CUTTING ENERGY BILLS:TRIAL OF INNOVATIVE 'SMART METERS' STARTS

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The UK's first major interactive smart metering trial in the residential sector has been launched by Elliot Morley,...
The UK's first major interactive smart metering trial in the residential sector has been launched by Elliot Morley, minister for climate change and environment.

The EDF Energy Smart Metering Trial, which is being managed in conjunction with fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA), will see up to 3,000 electricity and gas smart meters being installed in homes over two years, with the first one being installed at a home in Earlsfield near Wimbledon, London.

The meters being installed under the NEA DEMIA (Domestic Environmental Management in Action) project, provides a means of generating accurate bills without estimating and provide customers and EDF Energy with information about how energy can be saved in the home and the impact on household bills.

One of the aims of the trial is to gauge how much energy consumers will save from becoming more aware of their energy use; estimates have suggested consumers would be able to cut their bills by between three and 10 per cent.

The smart meters will be monitored electronically (remote access), with display units located in the home for customers.

Mr Morley said:

'Around a third of all carbon emissions come from households.

Individuals can cut their bills by installing a range of energy efficiency measures and also by becoming more aware of their energy consumption and taking action to conserve its use.

'It's quite hard for consumers to relate their quarterly bills with individual actions around the house. By installing smart meters, I hope customers will be able to see better the real cost savings that can be made by taking simple actions such as switching off unnecessary appliances.'

The Defra-funded NEA Domestic Environmental Management in Action project, which is now in its second year, covers all forms of energy awareness in the home, and aims to save household energy, water and waste in the household. EDF Energy has joined a consortium, managed by the NEA, the leading fuel poverty charity, Helpco, an energy services company, managed by the Greater London Energy Efficiency Network (GLEEN), together with the local authorities of Southwark, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets, plus the Severn Wye Energy Agency in Herefordshire.

Vincent de Rivaz, Chief Executive of EDF Energy, said: 'Given the Chancellor's announcements on smart metering, we are extremely pleased to be the first energy supplier to commence a major interactive smart metering trial directly with some of our customers.

Climate change is now top of the agenda. These meters give customers the information that helps them choose how they use energy.

'Knowledge is power.' That phrase has never been more relevant.'

William Gillis, Chief Executive of NEA, said: 'The association between NEA, the DEMIA project and EDF Energy is most welcome. NEA's involvement in delivering support within a wider metering trial will ensure that benefits accrue to even more low income households. This confirms for us EDF Energy's commitment to assisting inthe eradication of fuel poverty in all households.'

Smart metering has the means to improve the quality of service to the customer, and by collecting data electronically rather than manually it will eliminate estimating reading due to 'no-access', and ensure all bills are based upon actual usage. The improved data quality and visibility of dynamic energy consumption, should lead to greater awareness and enthusiasm from the customer and encourage them to take an active role in meeting our energy conservation and carbon emissions targets and reducing the impact on global climate change.

Notes

Last month, the Chancellor announced in the Budget a£5m fund to co-finance with energy suppliers a pilot study of feedback devices such as 'smart energy meters' that could potentially reduce energy demand and facilitate other market efficiencies.

EDF Energy is one of the UK's largest energy companies. It provides power to a quarter of the UK's population via its electricity distribution networks in London, the South East and the East of England. It supplies gas and electricity to over 5 million customers through its retail brands of EDF Energy, London Energy, Seeboard Energy and SWEB Energy. It generates about 5GW of energy from its coal and gas power stations, as well as combined heat and power plants and wind farms. The company is also a key player in national infrastructure projects, including the electrical upgrading of the London Underground, management of private electricity networks serving four London airports and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, the country's first new railway in 100 years. It employs nearly 12,000 people at locations across the UK. EDF Energy is a core part of EDF Group, one of the world's largest power companies.

National Energy Action is a fuel poverty charity campaigning for affordable warmth in the homes of vulnerable people. Visit www.nea.org.uk

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