Member Article

Vital Energi awarded contract to drive smart tariff innovation

Vital Energi are leading a consortium of experts to drive innovation in the development and support of smart tariffs.

Smart tariffs today are energy tariffs which vary depending on when energy is consumed – tomorrow’s smart tariffs may be even smarter. Smart tariffs are a critical part of the UK’s ability to achieve the 2050 net zero target. Typically, a smart tariff rewards consumers for using energy when it is abundant, thus enabling higher levels of intermittent renewable power generation that are key to achieving carbon neutrality. By encouraging reduced consumption during periods of peak demand, smart tariffs will also facilitate cost effective grid management. Consumers who can be flexible about when they use energy, through setting appliances or charging their vehicle, need innovative new tools to help them find the tariffs that work best for them.

The consortium will develop a comparison prototype tool that gives consumers an easy way to find the most cost-effective tariff options to suit their needs; the prototype will also encourage and enable more informed adoption of low-carbon technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps. Smarter comparison tools will help consumers see the benefit of smart meters; having a smart meter will mean they have a wider choice of tariffs and are able to get accurate price comparisons based on actual consumption.

The tool will be open source which means that every energy supplier, price comparison web site and low carbon technology provider can use the solution at no cost to help consumers make the best tariff and technology choices to suit their lifestyle and budget. Our work will be based on extensive research with consumers and energy sector stakeholders complemented by complex model development to deliver a customer-centric solution.

The £400,000 Smart Tariff Smart Comparison project is funded through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Energy Innovation Programme. By funding the development of this prototype and the related learnings, BEIS is giving industry a tool to encourage suppliers and low carbon technology providers to develop innovative new tariffs and solutions for the market. At the end of the project BEIS will publish reports and hold events to disseminate findings.

Denise Neville, Vital Energi’s Service Delivery Manager explains, “Smart tariffs offer an exciting opportunity for consumers to lower their energy spend and should be an effective tool in the fight against fuel poverty.”

“This project has the opportunity to create a consumer-facing tool to allow easy comparison of smart tariffs that will also incentivise energy suppliers to offer more smart tariffs, which would be great news for consumers looking for a better deal from their energy supplier, or considering low carbon technologies, while also helping to grow renewables and manage the grid.”

Vital Energi will lead the consortium and other partners on the project include.

• Hildebrand Technology (prototype delivery and smart meter data access) • davies+mckerr (consumer research) • Love Experience (user experience design) • The Carbon Trust and Dr Richard Carmichael of Imperial Consultants (subject and sector expertise)

The project was conceived and funded by BEIS with the Vital Energi-led consortium delivering the winning bid. The project is expected to be completed by March 2021. A project web site will be launched within the next few weeks.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Gordon Coates .

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