At our recent Powering Up the North event, where local and national bodies discussed what the region needs to do to reach its net zero carbon targets, Ofgem stressed that the industry needs to take risks and invest early in supporting the important transition.
As an example, the energy regulator highlighted our Smart Street programme which sees the voltage supplied to homes reduced by a few per cent at times of high energy consumption.
The scheme, which is due to start being rolled out on the network later this year, ensures appliances operate at their most efficient level, saving North West residents money and cutting carbon emissions by reducing energy use.
We have trialled this system for four years now and have found that a household’s electricity consumption is cut by between five and eight per cent, saving the householder up to £60 a year on their electricity bill and cutting carbon emissions by between seven and 10 per cent.
The new system will also help us to create the UK's first actively optimised network which make it more flexible and able to connect new technologies such as electric cars and solar panels on a large scale.
We’re now planning to install the first voltage control devices in substations in November before rolling out the technology to 180 areas in the region over the next three years.
Not only will this scheme help customers to save money, the energy savings generated by the initial roll out will be the equivalent of taking 2,570 polluting cars off the road every year.
Given both the cost and carbon savings that the innovation brings, it’s unsurprising that we’ve seen huge support from customers and stakeholders for a wider roll out of Smart Street.
We hope to scale up the scheme significantly in our next business plan to 2028, and beyond, as we help the North West, and the UK, on the path to net zero while continuing to reduce costs to customers.