Evaluating national trials of smart meters and associated interventions

Determining the best approach for the new £20 million national trial programme

The Energy Demand Research Project (EDRP) is a national study of domestic smart meters and associated interventions designed to help people reduce their energy use at home. These interventions include real-time energy displays, enhanced bills, energy efficiency information, special tariffs which vary across the day and financial incentives to reduce energy consumption. Over 50,000 households have participated in the trials.

Smart meters are designed to communicate directly with the energy company, usually by SMS. This means that accurate meter readings can be regularly obtained by the company without the need for a visit to the property. Smart meters can also communicate wirelessly to other devices, such as energy displays, within the property.

The government’s decision in 2009 to begin the national roll-out of smart meters focused attention on the EDRP smart meter trials. However not all the trials were of ‘smart’ interventions. Some households kept their standard meters but received energy-saving advice or ‘clip-on’ energy displays (pictured). The trials were complete by the end of 2010.

The trials were 50% funded by government and 50% by the four energy companies that ran the trials: EdF, E.ON, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern. Each company has worked with its own academic partners to analyse the data from the trials.

CSE’s role was to support the regulator in overseeing the trials in two ways: reviewing the reports produced by the four suppliers at six-monthly intervals during the course of the trials and compiling a database of all the data gathered from the trials. This database has enabled the independent analysis of all the EDRP data and will be a vital tool for the long-term analysis of the EDRP within and beyond academia.

Progress reports and final analysis of the EDRP can be found on this page of Ofgem's website

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