Electricity distributor Endeavour Energy and smart metering company Intellihub have partnered with ten energy retailers to launch the Off Peak Plus program now in operation on the state’s south coast.
The program, which so far includes 2,500 homes across Albion Park, essentially allows installed smart meters to dynamically control homes’ hot water systems, meaning they can be switched on during the day when there is cheap surplus energy in the grid.
In other words, the program makes the hot water system work much like a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) or energy storage system, but doesn’t have the additional hardware and software requirements. This is helpful not only for customers, who get their water heated at the most cost effective rate, but it also means this surplus can be soaked up without any additional infrastructure.
While the program focuses on electric hot water systems, it could also be applicable for electric vehicle charging, batteries or other forms of load control or demand response services.
The program has attracted the attention of state energy minister, Matt Kean, who was at the launch yesterday. “Nowhere else in Australia are we seeing this level of collaboration and innovation within the electricity sector to produce community wide benefits,” Minister Kean said.
“This state-of-the-art program has found a way to manage peak energy demand, helping to future proof the grid with even more home solar systems.”
“The smart meters will also detect safety issues with a customer’s installation, and help detect network issues and outages, particularly during storms and incidents.”
The program is managed by Intellihub, an Australian metering provider specialising in products that enhance grid visibility and data insight.
“It’s an innovative project, not just because of the technology, but how it’s being used to benefit customers, the environment and industry all at once,” Intellihub CEO Adrian Clark said.
The value the program adds to Endeavour Energy, one of Australia’s largest electricity distributors, is that it allows the company to better manage its increasing penetrations of renewables through access to data from the low voltage network via a smart meter.
“Endeavour Energy initiated this program to solve the problem of replacing and upsizing a 50 year old, off-peak control system in its nearby substation,” Endeavour Energy’s CEO Guy Chalkley said.
“By using advanced smart meters, instead of investing in expensive old technology at the substation, Endeavour Energy can save real dollars and cents for our customers by finding ways to help them capture more affordable solar energy.
“We’ll also be able to access energy and power quality data through the smart meter to help us better respond to issues and outages, particularly during storms, giving customers even safer and more reliable energy.”
The plan is to continue rolling the program out of the NSW south coast and parts of Western Sydney.
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