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First Utility to Pilot a New Energy Efficiency Project

By Katie Anderson on July 7, 2011

Independent domestic energy supplier First Utility has joined forces with US software company Opower to pilot a new energy efficiency project, which it claims could save customers £400m a year if they scheme was rolled out across the UK.

The US efficiency and smart grid software company Opower claims to have already saved over 390Gwh of electricity for its customers in the US, by using a package of measures designed to encourage households to save energy, include printing smiley faces on bills for the most energy efficient customers, and advising energy intensive households on how to reduce their energy consumption.

The partnership will see First Utility implementing a new home energy management service that will cut bills and carbon emissions. The independent energy provider already offers free smart meters to residential customers, and as part of the pilot programme, they will work in consultation with the Behavioral Insights Team in the Cabinet Office and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to gather ideas regarding future smart meter policy.  

The programme – which will be measured and verified independently by leading academics in the UK – will see data from smart meters to be fed into software systems designed by Opower. The combination of technologies will be able to analyse homes’ energy consumptions in order to identify and alter unsustainable domestic energy usage.

“Our experience in the US has taught us that utilities that put the customers first and proactively help them manage their energy use have more engaged and satisfied customers, which is good for business,” Alex Laskey, president and co-founder of Opower, said.

“We expect that our partnership with First Utility will yield significant savings on bills for households, and plan to share these results with DECC and the Cabinet Office as they consider policies to realise the most customer benefit from smart meters.”