London, June 2, 2011 – GE smart meters played a vital role in helping the community of North Leigh, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, reduce its energy consumption by 10 percent for three consecutive months.
In recognition of this achievement, the village received an award of about $32,000 from U.K. utility Scottish and Southern Energy. The North Leigh project is enabling SSE and the government to determine the most effective methods of influencing consumer behavior to reduce energy usage, a key factor in helping the U.K. achieve its goal of 20 percent carbon reduction by 2020, part of the European Union’s 20/20/20 initiative.
For this project, SSE provided GE‘s smart meters to the 800-home community, making the 2,000 villagers of North Leigh some of the first in the country to have smart meters installed in their homes. GE’s smart meters gathered data in real-time and communicated that information back to the energy supplier.
SSE was then able to present gas and electricity usage information to individual customers. This information was made available to individuals on a website, allowing them to view their energy usage and enabling them to make informed choices to reduce their electricity demand.
The results of the study are helping U.K. officials determine the ideal technology deployment strategy to empower consumers to maximize cost and energy savings.
Findings from this trial are helping to shape the government strategy on the roll-out of smart meters and carbon emissions reduction efforts, as well as to indicate how energy customers respond to better information about their energy consumption, through a variety of interventions.
The North Leigh trial used ZigBee communication protocol, which is becoming an accepted standard for home automation. It delivers full communications between customers, meters and a centralized information storage server, demonstrating the communications capabilities of advanced GE metering without investing in specialized communications systems.
In July 2007, SSE adopted North Leigh as one of three national projects to motivate communities to reduce electricity consumption. The other two communities were located in Scotland and Wales.