Less is more
Can we reduce electricity demand by rewarding communities?
21 January 2014
CSE launched an innovative new project with Western Power Distribution this week. 'Less is More' is a pilot project aimed at helping communities reduce their electricity use together. The message is simple: the less electricity they use (especially at peak times), the more funding they can earn for their community.
It’s a new approach to energy demand management - rather than upgrading substations to cope with ever higher demand, WPD is working through a network of energy advice charities, including CSE, to help ten selected communities reduce their electricity demand, especially at peak times.
In the long run this approach should create savings for everyone, with reduced bills and reduced upgrade costs. For this pilot project, the participating communities can earn up to £5,000 each for their local area.
As the lead charity partner, CSE carried out the research to select and monitor substations in ten communities, and we've created the project's interactive website [now closed]. It uses live graphs to show the communities how much electricity they're using against their target, and how much prize money they're currently earning.
We’re also providing energy advice and support to the participating communities in Easton (Bristol) and the Bournville Estate (Weston-Super-Mare).
CSE's Rachel Coxcoon, who's managing the project, said: “We're very excited that WPD has invited us to partner with them to design and deliver this innovative demand reduction project. We hope it will show that, working directly with householders to make them more aware of times of high demand, we can make their energy supply more secure. We’re also hoping that households in the participating communities will also be able to make changes to reduce their overall consumption, leading to lower bills."