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Using smart meter system data for public good

Britain’s energy infrastructure is the last of the great analogue systems and in five years' time it will be unrecognisable from today. Digitalisation is powering this transformation, with over a billion messages sent on the DCC network each month.

Smart meters are already benefiting energy consumers by providing accurate billing and empowering them to take control of their usage, but there is more we can do, by harnessing the anonymised system data that is sent across the system and using it to deliver public good. 

Data for Good

Greater transparency of, and accelerated access to, smart meter data can promote energy efficiency, effectively target those in need, empower consumers, and support new solutions for the energy transition, finds the recently published report – Data for Good, Smart Meter Data Access.

Given the scale of the impact of the energy crisis on households in the last year - with an estimated 6.7 million homes being defined as ‘fuel poor’ - urgent action is required to provide access to data that can help deliver interventions to support these households effectively.

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IHD

uZero – using smart meter system data to tackle fuel poverty

Efficiently identifying households most at risk from fuel poverty is critical as the country tackles the impact of the cost of living and energy crises. Although local authorities, energy suppliers and other organisations have obligations to help vulnerable households, they face significant barriers to identify those households in most need of support.

Following two years of development and testing with our consortium partners Greater South East Net Zero Hub, University College London and Connected Places Catapult, the prototype fuel poverty identification tool 'uZero' developed by Urban Tide is now complete.

Powered by Urban Tide’s advanced AI technology and using aggregated and anonymised smart meter ‘system data’ combined with other cross-sector datasets, this new tool offers a range of projected benefits:

  • Reduction in identification and search costs for the energy industry as they seek to meet their obligation to deploy energy efficiency measures
  • Better targeting of energy efficiency retrofit, resulting in reduced bills and improved wellbeing for consumers.
  • The ability to lower household emissions through energy efficiency measures, supporting the UK’s transition to net zero.

Anonymised smart meter system data is a new area of exploration and must be assured from a security and privacy perspective first. DCC and the other consortium partners champion a strong ethical approach to data use (privacy by design) and are committed to ensuring UK GDPR requirements are fully met at all stages of the project.

uZero map

Potential users of uZero include local authorities, energy suppliers, distribution network operators, housing providers, the NHS and other support organisations and charities who can use the information to target energy efficiency measures where they’re most needed.

You can read more about the impact of uZero on tackling the fuel poverty crisis in this blog by our Head of Strategic Innovation, Matt James.

Download the summary report: uZero - Tackling the Growing Fuel Poverty Crisis with AI.

Find out more about uZero on the Urban Tide website.