Report shows feedback link vital for positive contribution to energy efficiency

The report, entitled, ‘Energy Efficiency created from Informed End-Users: A summary of the empirical evidence’ gives fact-based results which address many questions that have emerged in the energy management field. The report is based on findings from a variety of global studies, pilots and mass rollouts in the area of information provided to the energy end-user.

While the benefits of smart metering are largely understood, the report delves deeper into the role technology may play in supporting smart metering further, and in particular the importance of customer engagement. It makes a series of key recommendations and highlights that research has found In-Home Displays to be preferred over detailed consumption data provided on a website. Smart metering systems combined with direct feedback have shown energy savings of between 5 and 15 percent, and sometimes even as high as 20 percent.

The report looks at a variety of topics, including real-time delivery of feedback with a simple local display, innovative tariffs and utility intervention, as well as a set of recommendations. Overall, a review of the studies provides conclusive evidence that clear customer feedback is a required element for end-users to learn how to control their energy use most effectively over a long period of time. Immediate, direct feedback in combination with other measures, such as frequent accurate billing and variable tariff structures, provides even greater results and is the basis for a sustainable reduction in energy demand.

“This report gives empirical evidence that a grass roots approach to energy efficiency through the use of smart metering is essential. Traditionally, the push has been top-down, coming from national governing and regulatory bodies, but with general awareness about energy efficiency and climate change growing, the end-consumer wants to participate. Energy management tools such as the Landis+Gyr ecoMeter enable this participation. Our study clearly demonstrates the benefit of active participation from the end-user and the resultant positive impact on energy efficiency and climate change”, says Andreas Umbach, President and COO of Landis+Gyr.

The deployment of smart metering and the consequent empowerment of consumers to actively participate in the energy market is the first step towards the creation of a ‘Smart Grid’, an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the actions of all users connected to it – generators, consumers and those that do both – in order to efficiently deliver sustainable, economic and secure electricity supplies.

Movements towards the development of the smart grid are becoming stronger: the EU recently announced the 3rd Energy Package including a Directive requiring at least 80 percent of homes to have a smart meter by 2020 and 100 percent by 2022. In the US, the Obama Administration recently approved USD 3.4 billion in smart grid funding, most of which is going to accelerate the roll-out of smart metering systems across the country. Similar government and regulatory moves in Canada, Australia, and China are increasingly making this a global opportunity.