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GE Smart Meters Spurred 10 Percent Energy Reduction in Oxfordshire

08 Jun 2011

GE smart meters are credited for prompting North Leigh in Oxfordshire to reduce its energy consumption by 10 percent for three consecutive months. The power conservation has earned the British village a £20,000 award from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).

The North Leigh project is enabling SSE and the UK government to identify the most effective methods of influencing consumer behavior to reduce energy consumption, which is integral if the United Kingdom is to achieve its goal of 20 percent carbon reduction by 2020.

For this pilot program, SSE deployed GE’s smart meters to the 800-home North Leigh community, making the town’s 2,000 residents some of the first in the United Kingdom to have smart meters installed in their homes. The smart meters accrued real-time data and transmitted that information to SSE, which was then able to post each customer’s gas and electricity usage on a website where they could see their power consumption and subsequently make informed choices to reduce their electricity usage.

Andrew Monks, Scottish and Southern Energy program manager, observes, “GE’s smart meters made an important contribution to the overall success of the project providing reliable and accurate information. With the help of GE’s technology, we are doing our part to help GB meet its goals for a cleaner, more efficient energy future.” The results of the study will help U.K. officials determine a deployment strategy that maximizes cost and energy savings.

Keith Redfearn, GE Energy in Europe’s general manager of digital energy, says, “GE is committed to assisting the government meet its objective to have smart meters in every home by 2020. Smart meters are a critical component in educating consumers by promoting energy-saving awareness and this trial deployment shows that smart meters will help the U.K. achieve its energy efficiency goals.”

GE believes customer education is vital to the success of smart grid and energy efficiency and has set up the website with videos, blogs, and general information for customers on the benefits of smart grid.

The North Leigh project, branded “Challenge North Leigh!,” was part of a government-sponsored Energy Demand Research Project (EDRP) backed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the industry regulator, the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets, known as OFGEM. The North Leigh trial used the ZigBee communication protocol.