As we become more reliant on electricity as our main source of power, our customers will use more new low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles, heat pumps and photovoltaics/solar panels.
These technologies tend to occur in clusters which has a dramatic effect on the electricity network. While electric vehicles and heat pumps could cause voltage to fall below statutory limits, new generation from photovoltaics exporting electricity to the network will have the opposite effect. If voltage levels fall outside statutory limits, the way our customers' appliances perform will be affected.
Smart Street demonstrates a step change in the co-ordination and operation of electricity networks in Great Britain and is the first demonstration of a fully centralised low voltage network management and automation system.
Using new controllable switching devices, called the Weezap and Lynx, integrated into our network management system, Smart Street stabilises voltage and avoids it falling outside of statutory limits.
We can then reduce the supply voltage to our customers to an optimum level so that our networks and our customers’ appliances work more efficiently, a technique known as conservation voltage reduction.
Smart Street has proved that controlling voltage on our low voltage network brings a number of benefits to customers. It can reduce electricity bills by up to £70 a year, reduce carbon emissions and will provide more flexible solutions to help us connect low carbon technologies to the network – all without impacting power quality.
The project ran from January 2014 until April 2018.