In November 2013, Electricity North West was granted funding from Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund for the £11.5 million 'Smart Street' project. Smart Street builds on the learning from the company’s two previous LCN Fund projects – Capacity to Customers and CLASS.
By combining innovative technology with existing assets, Smart Street aims to make networks and customers’ appliances perform more efficiently and make it easier to adopt low carbon technologies onto the electricity network such as solar panels, electric vehicles and heat pumps.
New controllable switching devices, called the WEEZAP and LYNX, developed in collaboration with our project partner Kelvatek, will be integrated into the network management system. This will be the first demonstration in Great Britain of a fully centralised low voltage network management and automation system.
The project involves a series of trials to test the technology on six primary substations and 38 related distribution substations, representing around 67,000 customers in Wigton, Egremont, Manchester and Wigan.
The new equipment was installed and the system configured between late 2014 and late 2015, with live trials beginning in January 2016. The trials will be carried out on a two-week-on and two-week-off basis until early 2018.
This innovative approach will keep costs down for customers, reduce carbon emissions and help get the most from the existing network.
The project will run from January 2014 until April 2018.
Engaging with our customers
Understanding whether customers are affected by the trials is crucial to the viability of the Smart Street solution. We will engage with customers in the trial areas to let them know about the trials and will use an ‘engaged customer panel’ to help decide the best way to communicate information about the project.
A series of focus groups will be held during the trials to collect qualitative information from customers. The aim of the research is to test if customers observe any changes in their electricity supply.
We will also raise awareness of the project with all our customers using our website, leaflets and social media to ensure you are kept up-to-date.