£11m, four-year Smart Meter roll-out enters final stage
Jersey is more switched on than the UK when it comes to ‘smart power’ as we enter the final stage of a four-year, £11m project to install the latest technology, remote reading Smart Meters in every home and business in the Island.
While the ambitious Smart Meter roll-out on mainland UK has faltered, Jersey’s is due for completion mid-2019 and more than 80% of the Island or 41,000 premises are already enjoying the benefits that this technology brings. These include more efficient billing, no more meter readers calling, no more self reads, an end to estimated bills, and bills arriving on the same date each quarter allowing equal billing periods. The technology also aids JE’s long-term decarbonisation strategy by enabling new tariffs that encourage customers to move from fossil fuels to heating with low carbon electricity, a move now regarded in Europe as a major driver in reducing carbon emissions.
What’s more, Jersey Smart Meters work in tandem with Smart Account, a secure online customer portal, specially designed for Jersey Electricity customers by the utility’s billing provider Swiss Post Solutions and JE’s own in-house software developer Jendev, to give customers more insight and a better understanding of their energy consumption than ever before. Though currently still in the trial stage, over 1,300 Islanders have already signed up for Smart Account that enables them to view their electricity consumption profile in simple charts on their phone, tablet or PC and compare usage, daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly and with that of similar properties if they choose. They also receive and store their bills in Smart Account which automatically provides the previous two years’ bills on sign up.
Looking ahead, JE’s 4,500 Pay As You Go (PAYG) customers will next year benefit from the biggest enhancement to the Island’s ‘key meter’ system for decades as the Smart Meter roll-out enters its final phase. Smart PAYG Meters will mean an end to the key charger, enabling customers to ‘top up’ their meters remotely as easily as they do a mobile phone. This means elderly or vulnerable customers, who have difficulty getting out to top up their keys, will be able to allow a relative or friend to credit their meters on their behalf without the inconvenience having to return to the house with the key. There will also be the added convenience of more than 100 ‘top-up’ locations to choose from compared with the current 20.
JE CEO Chris Ambler said: ‘Our Smart Meter design and build programme has certainly gone more smoothly than in the UK up to now. Our meters and our Smart Account have been specifically configured for Jersey and its tariffs. Smart Meters are just part of the smart tech revolution that we want to help our customers tap into. As well as offering benefits to customers, our Smart Meter programme is helping us to operate our business more efficiently, providing more detailed information about the demand on our network which helps us better prepare for the future.
‘The technology has already enabled us to introduce our first 24-hour uninterrupted, discounted heating tariff E20+ and looking ahead, we will be able to consider new tariffs offering better value for money depending on how customers use electricity. We also hope Smart Account helps customers to better manage their energy consumption providing them much more information than they’ve ever had before. Once the trial is complete, we intend to further develop the customer interface as well as enhancing tariffs and other services for all our customers.’
Find out more at www.smartthinking.je