JE trials new tech to reduce consumption and heating bills

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Jersey Electricity Chief Engineer John Duquemin with a Voltalis installation

Jersey Electricity customers could cut their heating and hot water bills by up to 15% in future using new demand-side management technology the utility is trialling, reinforcing the Island’s standing as the ideal testing ground for technological innovation.

Voltalis is a European leader in residential load management.  Using the Voltalis smart technology to control heating, hot water systems and electric vehicle charging, JE is hoping to reduce energy consumption without impacting the comfort levels of homeowners.

Voltalis claims up to 15% consumption savings have been achieved among over 100,000 existing sites in Europe and JE Chief Engineer John Duquemin says: ‘We are progressively searching for new technology to enhance our customer experience and the services and benefits we provide. We are keen to partner with leading tech firms such as Voltalis where there is a clear benefit to consumers and where partners might also benefit using our grid.

‘This trial will evaluate those benefits here in Jersey as every jurisdiction is different. The outcomes here would be different to those in England or Scotland, for example, because Jersey has a higher proportion of electric heating but milder winters. That is why we wish to trial it for a year in around 100 homes to monitor a summer and a winter. If successful, we intend to offer the technology to customers.’

Consisting of a smart box, fitted free to a home’s electricity distribution board, the Voltalis system suspends the operation of energy intensive heaters or hot water heaters for just a few minutes with little or no impact in temperature or comfort levels. These short interventions added together over the year however, make for significant savings in running costs.

Eléonore Glendinning, of Voltalis said: ‘Voltalis is delighted to work with Jersey Electricity on this exciting project. We are looking forward to giving the Island’s residents the tools to manage and reduce their consumption.’ 

Voltalis would also enable JE to better control demand on its network at Super Peak times when wholesale electricity prices are highest. This means that the utility could potentially reduce costs and therefore offer lower tariffs to customers.  Reducing peak demand on the network enables more efficient supply of electricity that in turn helps to avoid unnecessary investment in new infrastructure capacity.

Mr Duquemin added: ‘Unlike traditional demand-response technology, which offers limited benefits to customers because an entire site has to reduce demand simultaneously, affecting individual comfort levels, Voltalis offers accurate and dynamic control of very large numbers of appliances with short and frequent actions that do not affect customers’ comfort levels. In fact, customers won’t even notice Voltalis is working – until they see lower bills of course.

‘Large-scale energy saving this way is also an important factor in reducing carbon emissions in many countries. Here in Jersey, where the electricity is already decarbonised, our focus for this technology is managing load and lowering costs. Customers would benefit by reducing their bills from reduced consumption.’