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New Smart Energy GB white paper: How could we buy energy in the smart future?

8th March 2017

Our energy system is undergoing a quiet revolution, according to a new report from Smart Energy GB, published today. The report, How could we buy energy in the smart future?, explores the changes a smarter energy system might bring to the way we all buy and use energy in the future.

Dr Jeffrey Hardy, from Imperial College London, has identified the three emerging trends that could transform the choice available to consumers by disrupting the established market models. Digitisation has already revolutionised industries like retail and travel – and this report shows that smart meters could be the catalyst for a similar shift in the energy sector.

Smart meters are being offered to every household in Britain by energy suppliers. They send meter readings directly to suppliers, and show customers what they are spending, in pounds and pence and in near real time. The data provided by this modernised, digital meter network will open up opportunities for huge innovation in the energy market.

These innovations, according to Dr Hardy’s research, may include:

  • Peer to peer energy - People may be able to buy, sell and swap electricity directly with one another. Schemes in Australia, New Zealand and Germany are already allowing people with solar panels to sell any surplus energy they produce to local customers.
  • Energy service companies - Rather than paying per unit of energy, customers could buy holistic packages to power or heat their homes in the most cost effective and efficient way. That might mean signing up to a contract for the installation of energy efficiency measures, as well as the supply of energy. These services are already available to companies and public services in Germany and the USA.
  • Third party control - People could give control of their energy supply to services like price comparison sites. This would mean they could be switched to the best tariffs automatically. Similar services in New Zealand switch customers every six months when there is a good saving available.

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive at Smart Energy GB, said: “The installation of smart gas and electricity meters in every home in Britain is creating a unique platform for innovation in the way we all pay for and use our energy.

“From established brands to newer market entrants, smart technology is a catalyst for greater consumer empowerment and engagement. Many of these developments are as yet unimagined. But Dr Hardy’s paper provides an exciting insight into the innovations that could open the door to a revolution in our energy markets.”

Dr Jeffrey Hardy is Senior Research Fellow at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London. He said: “A smart energy system is a big opportunity for existing and new businesses. Today, our relationship with an energy supplier is simple – we pay a price for each unit of electricity or gas we consume. In the future, our relationship with businesses could be rather different.

“It’s clear to me that our future relationship with energy is likely to be smarter, more personal and maybe even exciting.”

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the voice of the smart meter rollout. It’s our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to get their gas and electricity under control. Our national campaign is reaching all households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales. 

About smart meters and the rollout

Smart meters replace the traditional meters we currently have in our homes. They enable accurate bills, near real time information on energy use in pounds and pence, and greater control over the way we buy and use energy. The smart meter rollout is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain’s energy infrastructure.

 Almost 5 million smart meters have already been installed in homes and microbusinesses, and between now and 2020 every household in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered one at no additional cost. Contact your energy supplier today about installing your smart meter.

Smart Energy GB media contact

For more information including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, infographics, photography and video content please contact the Smart Energy GB media team:

Janqui Mehta: [email protected]; 0203 019 1063/07715 665 112