Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Smart meters can help EV owners cut bills, says UK energy minister

Steve Rogerson
August 22, 2018



Smart meter enabled technology could see electric car owners cut bills and make money, according to UK energy minister Claire Perry during a visit last week to Bristol-based energy supplier Ovo Energy.
 
Perry is pictured with Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and founder of Ovo.
 
Ovo Energy uses smart meters to offer products such as rewarding people for charging their electric vehicles at off-peak times. These offers help them use energy at times when there is less demand on the grid, in turn saving money on their bills.
 
Smart charging and vehicle-to-grid charging could become a cornerstone of the way energy is used in the UK, with more than eight million people in Britain considering buying or leasing an electric vehicle in the next five years. With this technology, consumers will not only be able to choose to use energy at the cheapest times but also make money by selling energy from their vehicle’s battery at times when it is most in demand. This could support the growth of renewable energy generation in the UK.

Smart energy innovations, such as smart tariffs and smart charging, could save the UK as much as £40bn between now and 2050.

Smart meters also support Ovo’s intelligent platform VCharge, which is helping residential appliances such as electric vehicles, electric heaters and in-home batteries balance the grid and reduce energy costs.
 
“More than 11 million meters are already empowering consumers to reap the rewards of a smarter energy system, putting homes and small businesses on the road to a smarter future,” said Perry. “Smart meters will be the cornerstone of a cleaner, flexible and efficient energy system, saving the country tens of billions of pounds. New innovative products and tariffs like these will put consumers in the fast lane when it comes to control of their energy use, saving and even making them money when using their electric vehicles.”
 
These products are just one of the ways smart meters can save money. They can put people in control of their energy use by showing them how much energy they use in pounds and pence via an easy to understand in-home display. With this information at their fingertips, consumers can understand how they can make small changes to the way they use energy to use less and save money on their bills, estimated at up to £1.2bn a year by 2030.
 
"Getting the smart meter rollout right should be the top priority for the government and the energy sector in the UK right now so it’s encouraging to see the minister here today,” said Fitzpatrick. “The smart meter rollout is a huge and complicated programme. However, there’s no question it needs to be done as we can’t build the energy system of the future unless we know accurately how much energy people are using and when. Ovo is using technology like electric vehicles, smart electric heat and batteries to help lower energy bills for consumers and enable us to use more renewable energy. None of this technology will work without smart metering. We welcome the government’s recent efforts to improve the delivery of smart meters but there is still more work to do.”
 
At Ovo’s offices, the minister also met with their smart meter installation engineers, who undergo thorough training ahead of installations. When having a smart meter installed all homes and small businesses benefit from a free visual safety check of their gas appliances and electricity supply; and in the past 18 months alone, installers have raised 430,000 safety notices for issues not related to smart meters during installation visits as part of the free visual safety check provided.
 
More than 400,000 meters are being installed by energy suppliers across Great Britain each month. Consumers can call their supplier and book and appointment to have one installed.
 
More than 500,000 households in the south-west have already had a smart meter installed and those still without one could save a collective £50m if they had a smart meter installed. If every household in Great Britain got a smart meter, it could save enough energy to power every household in Exeter, Plymouth and Swindon for two years.
 
Separately, the minister visited the new nuclear site Hinkley Point C, where a 250-strong apprentice force is powering this Somerset nuclear project. Site owner EDF expects 1000 apprentices to work on the project during its lifespan.
 
Hinkley Point C is the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation. Nuclear energy already provides around a fifth of the UK’s electricity from existing sites and Hinkley Point C’s output will boost this figure.
 
Hinkley Point C remains on track to meet its next major milestone, the 2019 nuclear concrete construction target of completing the foundations for the first reactor. Energy production is expected to start in 2025.
 
In the UK, 82% of people with smart meters say they have a better idea of their energy costs and eight out ten people with smart meters say they would recommend them to friends or family.