EDF to trial new day-ahead electricity alerts

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EDF and Imperial College London have teamed up to trail a new system designed to encourage energy consumers to experiment with adapting energy usage in order to save money.

In total, 1,000 customers will take part in the year long trail which aims to find out whether they are willing adapt their washing and drying to fit in with periods of the day when green energy is more available.

The participants will receive a text message or alert notifying them of what stage of the day electricity prices will be cheaper.

Talking of the project, professor of electrical and electronic energy systems at Imperial College London, Goran Strbac, said: "It is crucial that we understand the role that residential consumers can play in the development of smarter electricity systems that will facilitate cost-effective evolution to a low-carbon future."

It is estimated by the Energy Saving Trust that customers could save as much as £250 on their bills, simply by changing the way they use appliances in the home.

Combined with other energy-saving measures such as regular servicing of boilers, or taking advantage of the government schemes such as the new Green Deal, which allows energy consumers to receive subsidies towards things such as loft insulation, there has been an increased push by the government and energy companies alike to encourage customers to get their houses more energy-efficient.

UK Power Networks low-carbon London programme director, Liam O'Sullivan, said the research would hopefully encourage more use of low-carbon electricity and test how useful day-ahead pricing was.

He said: "This is the first time such research has been undertaken in Britain.

"We want to see whether people can move their demand patterns away from peak times to support the most efficient, low-carbon operation of the infrastructure which brings power to their door."

The results of the survey will be published next year and could potentially see the creation of new tariffs rewarding consumers who make use of electricity in their households at a time when demand is low and hence the price is cheaper.

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