New trial seeks small changes for big impact

Electricity distributor Jemena, in partnership with the Victorian Government, has launched a new demand response pilot that encourages households in Melbourne’s north to make small changes to their summer electricity usage, which will have a big impact on Victoria’s electricity grid.

To be piloted across Alphington, Craigieburn, Eaglemont, East Ivanhoe, Fairfield and Ivanhoe, participants in the Power Changers pilot will be rewarded for modifying their electricity use during peak periods on their local network. To encourage participation, households taking part in the trial can earn rewards points that can be redeemed for cash or donations to local organisations, including local schools.

Demand response programs are increasingly being offered to customers to encourage them to trim their demand on the grid at peak times, by making adjustments to how and when they use their power.

Jemena’s Power Changers trial utilises smart meter information, with participants tracking their electricity usage during peak times on a new interactive app, created by Victorian-based software company Billcap in conjunction with app developer GreenBe.

“The Power Changers program notifies households when the grid is under pressure. By making small changes to how they use electricity, households can make a big impact on the grid,” Jemena executive general manager, customer and markets, Shaun Reardon said.

“The pilot program uses innovative technology and smart meter data to set targets and provide feedback to households during peak times, enabling our customers to make informed choices about how and when to shift their consumption.”

Findings from Power Changers will provide important information for further Jemena research into customer behaviour and provide feedback into existing and potential future benefits of smart meters. The findings will also be shared with the Victorian Government to inform future energy policy.