London: Data.City - Smart Energy GB joins Mayor of London at Smart City Expo Word Congress 2016

Nov 10, 2016

Screen shot 2016 11 10 at 11.42.45

Smart Energy GB, the voice of Great Britain’s smart meter rollout is delighted to have been invited to join the Mayor of London, the GLA and the likes of Tech.London, Space Syntax and Design for Social Change at the Barcelona Smart City Expo.

This is the world’s best summit to explore the transformative potential of technology in urban contexts, discuss the importance of user centricity in smart city projects and showcase how London and Great Britain as a whole are leading the way in the digital economy.

There is a growing consensus amongst municipalities across the globe that to become smarter, cities must completely alter the way they engage with energy. British businesses echo this perspective. Recent research undertaken by ComRes found that 83% of them felt that our energy system needed a digital upgrade.

When talking about smart cities we often hear that the levers enabling change reside in city governance, leadership, project pipelines and funding models.

Undeniably these are critical. But as we are not designing our smart cities from scratch, we need to work with cities’ main resource, its people.

This leads to the logical conclusion that cities will only be as smart as their users – both as consumers and as citizens.

It is for both these reasons that the smart meter rollout is such an important component of any city’s aspirations to become smarter.

To become smart, cities need to design ways to involve all citizens into a journey whereby their everyday small decisions lead to optimal outcomes for themselves (as consumers) and for their community (as citizens).

It is important to remember that technology is only an enabler, not an end in itself. therefore this journey needs to be communicated to local residents in a language they understand, and around outcomes they can relate to.

At Smart Energy GB, this is what we are doing.

Between now and 2020, 53 million smart meters will be offered to every home and microbusiness in the country at no extra cost at the point of installation.

Already more than 4 million smart meters have been installed, and 80% of people with one would recommend one to a friend.

There are a number of reasons for this - smart meters provide consumers with the means to get their gas and energy under control, and engage in the energy market.

Importantly, smart meters make the invisible visible for consumers through their in home display. By providing real time information in pounds and pence they are designed to make it easy for the consumer to understand the merits and implications of their day-to-day choices on their bills.

The information smart meters provide also helps to better align consumer needs with citizen prerogatives by providing a financial incentive to consume less and at times when renewable energy is available, which in turn has positive impacts on the city’s efforts to reduce emissions.

From a system wide perspective, smart meters play a key role too. They help to digitise the last analog industry of our age, enabling the development of a smart grid and opening up opportunities for energy to evolve from a commodity-based model to one based on energy as a service.

And the economic boost this provides is tangible. According to the National infrastructure Commission, a smart grid will enable savings of up to £8 billion per year by 2030. Businesses large and small see the potential in this digital upgrade. ComRes’s research found that 86% of them said that smart meters are important for Britain’s economy.

Perhaps more importantly in the context of smart cities, the digitisation of energy will also make it much easier for cities to take control of energy at a local level, as we are seeing in places like Bristol, Nottingham, Leeds and Liverpool.

It is great to see Sadiq Khan championing a similar transformation in London. Energy for Londoners, coupled with the capital’s leadership in the digital economy has the potential to accelerate the transformation of the energy market in London for the better.

We look forward to working with the GLA, to raise awareness amongst Londoners about smart meters and seize the opportunities provided by the rollout and the digitisation of energy.

If you would like to find out how to engage with our campaign, please contact us. In any case we look forward to meeting with you in Barcelona!

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