Thursday, 29 August 2013

Disaggregation in the UK

I was recently asked about smart meter legislation in UK, and its direction with respect to energy disaggregation. Here was my response:

As far as I'm aware, UK smart meters are not required to provide appliance specific electricity breakdowns. Instead, they're being installed primarily for automatic billing purposes, but also to provide total household consumption information and potentially real-time pricing data via in home displays. Some general information about UK smart meters is available from the UK Government, and the latest technical specification for smart meters is the Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specification v2.

In the UK, most consumers are signed up to electricity contracts with one of the big 6 energy suppliers. However, British Gas, the largest of these suppliers, recently started running a TV advert in which their smart meters were shown to break down their households' electricity usage into heating and lighting. In my opinion, this shows that although appliance specific breakdowns are not required by government directives, energy suppliers are keen to provide such services in order to incentivise consumers. I think breaking down electricity usage into heating and lighting is only the beginning of what electricity disaggregation can offer to consumers, and we're likely to see some interesting competition in this domain between some of the major players in the UK energy sector.

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