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UK study seeks to ID best smart meter strategies

ge-meterGE Energy technology is helping the UK Government better develop its objective to have smart meters in every home by 2020.

Using GE smart meters as information collection and reporting devices, a Government-sponsored Energy Demand Research Project (EDRP) study is tracking energy use by time of day. The in-depth research is uncovering the effects of various savings strategies on household energy consumption.

The strategies include: reporting consumption to households via a visual display, reporting consumption on a household’s TV screen, making consumption information available via the Internet, using alarms that go off when consumers reach certain consumption levels, tariff rewards for reducing overall energy consumption and lower rates for consumers who move energy consumption to “off peak” hours by, for example, running a dishwasher at night.

“As the test progresses, we are learning about consumer behaviour and how smart meter technology can help save on energy bills,: said Andrew Monks, EDRP program manager at Scottish and Southern Energy. “Thanks to the help of GE technology and GE engineers, we will be able to plan for a more efficient, cleaner energy future across the United Kingdom.”

During the study, officials will determine the ideal technology deployment strategy to maximise cost and energy savings with UK power users.

The trial uses the ZigBee communication protocol, which is becoming an accepted standard for home automation. It delivers full, multi-way communications between consumers, meters and a centralised information storage server.

The EDRP study also is serving as a platform to promote energy-saving awareness and the potential benefits of smart consumption to citizens across the United Kingdom. Homes in the trial are located in North Leigh in Oxfordshire.

“Smart meters are the foundation for the smart grid in Europe and a critical component to help maximise the productivity and performance we can squeeze from our infrastructure,” said Keith Redfearn, general manager of GE Energy’s transmission and distribution business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “GE is planning to establish a European Smart Meter Centre of Excellence in the United Kingdom to support the design, assembly and testing required to deploy smart grid technology throughout the European Union.”

1 Comment

  • Ross
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 8:28 am

    The only way that households will truly benefit from smart meters is if intelligent household appliances can respond to demand-based dynamic pricing. People wishing to reduce their energy costs know how to do it already – what we need are technologies which help others less keen on saving money do it automatically. It’s the only way to smooth demand spikes and lessen the need for more reserve power stations.

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