From 2013 – 2018, CAG was a key partner on the UK Power Networks ‘energywise’ project, funded under Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund.  Energywise involved trialling smart meters, time of use tariffs and critical peak rebates with social housing tenants in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

The aims of the project were to:

  • Understand how to engage fuel poor customers with smart metering, energy efficiency and demand side response;
  • Understand how fuel poor customers and hard to reach customers can benefit from energy efficiency and participate in demand side response;
  • Quantify the demand reduction and time-shifting these customers could provide. Reducing evening peak demand is important as high demand places extra strain on the current electricity network infrastructure. (Peak time for domestic electricity consumption is typically 5-8pm in the UK.)

How we delivered the project

CAG was appointed as the ‘customer engagement’ partner on the project, with responsibility for overseeing recruitment of participants and their ongoing engagement throughout the project.  As part of this role, we:

  • Developed the participant recruitment protocols and provided support on the recruitment of the Customer Field Officer team (based at Bromley by Bow Community Centre);
  • Developed recruitment materials including an invitation letter, project leaflet and welcome pack;
  • Developed the project communications strategy;
  • Designed and ran a series of participant panels to get feedback on participant experiences;
  • Undertook telephone surveys with participants during trial 1 and again during trial 2;
  • Oversaw the production of dissemination materials highlighting key learnings from the project, including, ‘Learnings from recruitment and ongoing engagement’ and ‘energywise – key impacts’;
  • Developed two of the ‘Successful Delivery Reward Criteria’ reports required by Ofgem; SDRC 9.4 (Customer engagement) and SDRC 9.6 (Knowledge dissemination).

Objectives achieved

CAG assisted UK Power Networks in successfully meeting the following objectives:

  • Getting sign off from Ofgem on the project’s communications plan, SDRC 9.4 and 9.6 reports;
  • Successful recruitment and training of a team of locally based field officers; and
  • Meeting the project’s target of achieving a sign up rate of one in three customers targeted.

The project delivered useful findings in terms of the potential impact on both customers and the electricity network of smart meters and time of use tariffs:

  • Trial 1 achieved a 5.2% reduction in average evening peak electricity consumption per participating household, while Trial 2 achieved reductions of up to 2.2%.
  • Participants saved an average of £14 a year during trial 1, with pre-pay customers also benefitting from easier top up options. Trial 2 savings varied considerably depending on the ability and willingness of households to shift their energy use to off peak times.   Participants on the static time of use tariff saved an average of £6 a year, but over £50 in some cases. Participant on the critical peak rebate saved an average of £37 a year, and up to £111.  The top 10% of households reduced their consumption during the ‘critical peak’ periods by over 18%.

Further details on the project’s impacts can be found here.

For further information on this project, or on CAG’s work in relation to smart energy more generally, contact CAG Partner Emma Jones,, 07967 325782

Sep 20, 2018