Driving energy efficiency with smart meter data
It’s fantastic to see BEIS (the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) launching their Smart Energy Savings (SENS) Innovation Competition, a £6.25 million innovative competition to drive residential energy efficiency in the UK using smart meter data.
Energy retailers have historically used a variety of old-school techniques to help their residential customers reduce energy consumption. These include reactive initiatives like nPower’s energy efficiency helpline, or proactive like E.ON’s energy use quiz, or an email newsletter containing generic energy efficiency advice like The Source from British Gas, or outbound phone energy efficiency campaigns.
With smart meter data now a reality for 12 million households and growing, there's huge opportunity to develop innovative solutions to meet the challenge.
At Delta-ee we've done a lot of work into understanding customer engagement with energy insights using smart meter data from our research of customer propositions. Techniques generally fall into the following categories, all of which can help the consumer better understand and take positive action on their energy consumption.
- Real-time monitoring of household consumption
- Consumption comparisons to previous time periods or averages, to similar homes, or against a defined target amount
- Disaggregation at the category and/or appliance level
- Bill forecasting linked with budgeting tools such as high bill alerts
- Gamification in the form of incentivised challenges at a household or community level
- Personalised energy efficiency advice and suggested positive action
But many solutions don’t fully address real customer needs. Companies that are stretching the boundaries of what can be achieved with innovative trials and in market solutions include Innogy with a proxy to bill itemisation to increase customer understanding and control of their bills, Looop with a time of use tariff that cuts customer bills without a financial hit on suppliers, and Fresh Energy with value-add services like elderly care monitoring.
We’ve also conducted primary customer research to better understand market demand and how to develop customer propositions to maximise opportunity. This, for instance, has shown the relative importance of hardware installation and cost as consumer barriers to solutions. And from our research into behavioural science, we can advise how to optimise customer consents to sharing smart meter data.
Delta-ee has been involved in a range of trials providing technical advice, market insight, and third-party analysis and research. We are keen to offer support or partner with companies seeking to use the Smart Energy Savings Innovation Competition from BEIS to help develop their innovative solutions.
To find out more about the BEIS SENS innovation fund and how to apply they are holding an open day on 23rd January in London.
We hope to see you there.