Residential Customers to Play Key Role in Move to Decarbonised Electricity System

01 March 2019

Residential customers will play an increasingly important role in the move to a decarbonised electricity system, according to the results of a ground-breaking pilot programme carried out by EirGrid and Electric Ireland.

The Power Off and Save programme ran for 18 months and involved over 1,400 residential electricity customers.

Under the programme, customers were encouraged to help balance electricity supply and demand by changing their consumption patterns.

Participants were given a range of smart-home technologies, including energy meters, smart switches on immersion heaters and electric vehicle charging stations. They were asked to switch off appliances for 30 minutes on ten separate occasions with no advance notification.

Robin McCormick, EirGrid Director of Operations, Planning and Innovation, said: “The ability to change consumers’ electricity usage is an important part of the EU’s transition towards a low-carbon economy. The move to electrification of heat, transport and increased connectivity provides a huge potential for residential customers to be a key part of the energy system of the future,” he added.

The results show that electricity customers are happy to reduce their energy consumption if they are financially incentivised to do so.

Televisions, kettles and phone chargers were the most common items to be switched off following a notification to the customer. In addition to turning off appliances manually or through an app on their smartphone, many customers opted to enable Electric Ireland to turn off their appliances remotely.

Reduction in demand was highest during the morning and evening peaks. Lower reductions were noticed during the day and at weekends.

The results show that electric vehicle charging, heat pumps and immersion heaters are the highest consumers of electricity in the home. The introduction of smart technologies for these appliances will increase their use over the coming years, resulting in the potential for significant reductions in electricity demand.

“Initiatives such as Power Off & Save will become important tools to help ensure a secure, sustainable and affordable electricity system. They can help us soften peaks in demand and fill in the troughs, especially at times when power is more abundant, affordable and clean,” said Robin McCormick.

“For business and consumers, it is a smart way to save on total energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.”

To read more about Power Off & Save, click here.