Project LEO partner equiwatt is carrying out energy balancing trials in different communities across Oxfordshire this Spring.
Their free service rewards householders for helping balance the electricity grid at peak times by reducing their electricity use for an hour, when asked.
Householders download an app and are invited to take part in regular demand reduction events, earning reward points. Residents in key trial locations in Oxfordshire can also take part in additional Project LEO demand reduction events.
equiwatt can also enable its service users to take part in National Grid Demand Flexibility Service events, which you may have heard about in the news, even if their electricity supplier isn’t registered with the scheme. Demand reduction at peak times can help reduce the risk of black outs, and reduce the need for carbon intensive generation at times of very high demand.
equiwatt welcome anyone in Oxfordshire who would like to join the scheme to sign up.
Further information about the trials, including details of the key recruitment areas can be found below.
About the Project LEO equiwatt trials FAQs
What is the purpose of the trial?
We want to learn how collective electricity demand reduction at the grid edge – where households connect to the electricity network – can contribute to the decarbonisation of our energy system. Reducing electricity demand at peak times can help in two ways. First, it can reduce the need to resort to carbon intensive generation to meet high demand peaks, second it can help improve the efficient use of local networks, enabling the existing system to support the electrification of heating and transport. The trials will help us better understand how householders can help support, and benefit by being more flexible about the way they use electricity.
When are the trials taking place?
Trials are taking place between January and end of March 2023. You can sign up any time.
Several trial ‘events’ will take place during this period and with each individual trial lasting one hour, Householders are invited to participate in as many individual events as they wish.
Who can sign up?
All households in Oxfordshire are invited to participate. You must be a domestic energy customer, but don’t have to have a smart meter and can also sign up if you are a pre-payment meter user.
We particularly welcome people living in the key trial areas as they will be able to take part in additional trial events, and as a result additional support is offered to those residents to help them sign up.
People in the key trial areas who do not have a smart meter will be offered the opportunity install one or more smart plugs to enable them to participate as we need to be able to collect energy use data as part of the key trial events.
What is equiwatt?
equiwatt is free service that rewards householders for helping balance the electricity grid by reducing their electricity use for an hour at peak times.
How do householders sign up?
To take part householders need to download the equiwatt app and register with the service.
This then guides them through the process of registering their smart meter (if they have one) with the service. Households can also connect Smart Plugs as an alternative to Smart Meters and to automate participation. Plugs can be provided to qualifying residents in the key trial areas free of charge.
How do householders take part in the trial?
Participants are sent a notification via the app asking them to reduce their energy usage for up to one hour. This can be done manually, but it is easier for householders to automate the energy savings by connecting compatible smart home devices and electric vehicles if they have one.
Their reduction in energy demand at the key period is measured either via their smart meter or the smart plugs provided.
What are the benefits to participants?
By taking part in one of the UK’s most innovative and smart grid trials, participants are helping contribute to key learning that is accelerating the transition to a zero carbon energy system.
They are also rewarded for their efforts with ‘points’ that can be exchanged for a wide range of rewards from charity donations to John Lewis vouchers.
The service also enables households to participate in and earn rewards from the National Grid Demand Flexibility Service events, even if their electricity supplier isn’t registered with the scheme.
Where are the key trial areas?
Project LEO will be gaining insights from the activities of all equiwatt service users in Oxfordshire. However, we are particularly keen to sign up participants in the following areas. This is because of additional monitoring that has been installed by SSEN at key secondary sub-stations in the area that enables accurate measurement of electricity use on key ‘feeders’ that supply electricity to properties in an area. Nb this only measures the collective energy use of all properties linked to that feeder, not at individual property level.
Key areas we wish to recruit are within:
- Blackbird Leys
- Duns Tew
- East Oxford
- Florence Park
- North Oxford (Jericho and Central North Oxford area)
- Rose Hill
- West Oxford
How can my low carbon community group get involved?
We would be delighted if community groups in the key trial areas could help us spread the word about the trials so we can get asn many people as possible signed up.
This could include:
- Putting a short news item in your newsletter or on social media. For example:
WhatsApp groups There is an energy trial taking place in our street and residents are invited to take part. It involves downloading an app and reducing electricity use for an hour, when asked. In return you get rewards and help balance the electricity grid. Find out more at https://www.equiwatt.com/project-leo
FacebookThere is an energy trial taking place in [your community name] and residents are invited to take part. It involves downloading an app and reducing electricity use for an hour, when asked. In return you get rewards and help balance the electricity grid. Please help if you can. To find out more go to: https://www.equiwatt.com/project-leo
Further sample copy and images is available on request
- Asking if we can put a call out for participants on residents whatsapp groups for key streets
- Helping with door drops
- Inviting a member of the equiwatt team to join you at any events you might be hosting in January or February or putting them in touch with any local organisers of events you might recommend they attend.
equiwatt can support activities by
- providing literature such as flyers, or printing costs eg for a letter drop to a key street
- attending events (virtual or in person)
- offer free smartplugs to support activities targeting the key trial area
- provide one to one virtual appointments for residents who would like to sign up but would like support in signing up to the app.
All supporting community groups will also get feedback and insights about the project, participation and its impact.
Who do I contact for more information?
If you can help or would like further information about supporting the trials, please contact Geoff at equiwatt by emailing email@example.com with subject ‘Low Carbon Hub Project LEO’.
Do I need a smart meter to take part?
No, you do not need a smart meter to use the service or participate in the trials. However by granting permission for equiwatt to access data via your smart meter, we will be able to learn more through the trials about specific trial scenarios, so do please consider registering your smart meter through the app if you have one. Having a smart meter is also a requirement set by National Grid for participation in their Demand Flexibility Service events.
How will my data be used?