NPg voltage management trial could be extended across its network

Boston Spa and Wetherby are the focus for an energy saving trial led by distribution network operator (DNO) Northern Powergrid.
In the Boston Spa Energy Efficiency Trial (BEET), which kicked off in January, Northern Powergrid is harnessing data from local smart meters and running it through its specially developed BEET-Box to safely optimise the network voltage for around 15,000 homes and businesses in the trial area.
The BEET-Box uses smart meter data to safely turn voltage up or down to the level that appliances need to work most efficiently. This could save individual homes and businesses taking part in the trial on average £28 on their annual energy bills and cut their carbon footprint by up to 20kg per year. The resulting energy savings could also help to unlock capacity for low carbon technologies such as electric vehicle chargers and solar panels.
In the past, to ensure compliance with voltage regulations, households have typically received a higher voltage than most domestic appliances require to work effectively. But now, thanks to an innovative idea from local resident and retired engineer Keith Jackson, and insights from smart meters that show energy consumption in near real-time, engineers can deliver the voltage that customers really need.
Keith Jackson said: “I approached Northern Powergrid with an idea that would use real-time data from smart meters to optimise network voltage levels and deliver CO2 and cost savings for the local community. Everyone in the trial area will benefit without having to do a thing. The BEET project is a great example of how innovative thinking can positively impact both local citizens, and our net zero goals.”
To maximise the benefit, wherever possible, Northern Powergrid will prioritise the roll-out for areas where there are increased levels of fuel poverty.
If the trial is successful, Northern Powergrid plans to roll the concept out across the majority of its network by 2033. If scaled up nationally, the network operator estimates that BEET could cut 1.1 million tonnes of CO2 from the UK’s annual carbon footprint and save consumers up to £770 million on their energy bills.

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