Generating ideas for smart-meter engagement

Workshop brings together creative minds

7 November 2012

A range of designers, technologists, power system experts and key people from energy supply and distribution companies came together in at a CSE-run workshop in October as the first step in our 'Smart and Happy Meters' project.

The project aims to find out what will motivate domestic consumers to engage willingly with the smart meters that will feature increasingly in UK homes.

Gathering at Bristol's Paintworks, this creative blend of professionals was charged with coming up with three different concepts to encourage consumer engagement which the project team will develop further and present to consumer focus groups later in the year.

CSE's Ian Preston is managing the project. "The emphasis was on finding non-financial rewards for householders to engage with smart meters – not just the more familiar financial 'carrots' such as cheaper electricity. What we were looking for was ways that consumers could gain satisfaction and a sense of achievement or empowerment from this.

"And within the boundaries of 'feasibility, fundability and fulfilment' we encouraged everyone at the workshop to let their imaginations roam freely and broadly."

The most popular ideas centred around accessibility of functionality, community engagement, automated controls, and data-driven messaging. It seems that the technology to make smart meters engaging and exciting for householders already exists, it’s just a matter of funding and the complexities of a nation-wide rollout.

More detail will be posted when available on the project profile.

Attendees at the workshop were from Ofgem, DECC, Energy Saving Trust, Opower, Onzo, Secure Controls, Triangle Design, SSE, Consumer Focus, Knowle West Media Centre, IBM and academics from Bath and Bristol universities. 

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