Smart meters help Oxfordshire village cut energy consumption

Smart meters from GE have helped the village of North Leigh in Oxfordshire reduce its energy consumption by 10% for three consecutive months.

This has earned the village a £20,000 award from utility Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE). The North Leigh project is helping SSE and the government determine the most effective methods of influencing consumer behaviour to reduce energy usage.

For this project, SSE provided GE’s smart meters to the 800-home community, making the 2000 villagers of North Leigh some of the first in the country to have smart meters installed in their homes. The meters gathered data in real-time and communicated that information back to the energy supplier.

SSE was then able to present gas and electricity usage information to individual customers. This information was made available to individuals on a web site, letting them view their energy usage so they could make informed choices to reduce their electricity demand.

“GE’s smart meters made an important contribution to the overall success of the project providing reliable and accurate information, “said Andrew Monks, programme manager for SEE. “With the help of GE’s technology, we are doing our part to help GB meet its goals for a cleaner, more efficient energy future.”

The results of the study are helping UK officials determine the best technology deployment strategy to empower consumers to increase cost and energy savings.

“GE is committed to assisting the government meet its objective to have smart meters in every home by 2020,” said Keith Redfearn, general manager of digital energy for GE Energy in Europe. “Smart meters are a critical component in educating consumers by promoting energy-saving awareness and this trial deployment shows that smart meters will help the UK achieve its energy efficiency goals.”

The North Leigh project was part of a government-sponsored Energy Demand Research Project (EDRP) backed by the Department of Energy & Climate Change and the industry regulator Ofgem. Findings from this trial are helping shape the government strategy on the roll-out of smart meters and carbon emissions reduction efforts, as well as indicate how customers respond to better information about their energy consumption.

The trial used the Zigbee protocol, which is becoming an accepted standard for home automation. It delivers full communications between customers, meters and a central information storage server.

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