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Empowering UK Energy Consumers: A consumer-led vision for energy innovation

01 August 2010
Empowering UK Energy Consumers: A consumer-led vision for energy innovation

London, 27 July 2010: The Climate Group and Google co-hosted a roundtable event on key issues around consumer access and control of energy information in the UK. The roundtable, which took place in London on the 27th of July brought together a group of metering and smart grid companies, utilities, consumer and privacy advocates, policy makers, regulators and academics to discuss how to engage consumers and unleash energy savings innovation in the market.

Just hours before the event, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne set out 32 actions being taken to accelerate the transformation of the energy system and wider economy, in the first ever Annual Energy Statement to Parliament. This included a joint DECC/Ofgem Smart Meter Prospectus, setting out plans for rolling out smart meters to every home and small business in Great Britain.

The roundtable discussion focused on what would enable a successful roll out of smart meters:

  • ensuring a system that will make energy use information accessible and useful;
  • protecting consumer privacy and security of the system;
  • allowing for new services to emerge that will deliver the promise of energy savings;
  • and how smart metering goals can integrate with other imperatives like delivering low carbon homes, scaling up plug-in hybrids and achieving renewable energy targets.

Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, who facilitated the event, said: “Giving citizens better energy information and bringing ICT into the electricity system will usher in a new age of sustainable living. In the short term, solar panels and electric vehicles are not accessible to all, but everyone should be able to see how much energy they use, its impact and cost. This shift from consumer to ‘prosumer’ will engage people in the clean revolution.”

What participants agreed on is that there is still a lot to be done to understand what will motivate consumers and engage them in the path to transforming our energy system. But it became clear that having consumers on board from the outset will be a key element of success.

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