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Report: UK Home Energy Management Devices Top 2 Billion Pounds in 5 Years
Mar 9, 2012
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It is expected that 2.4 billion British Pounds will be spent in the UK on smart home energy management devices in the next 5 years, according tot IMS Research. These devices range from the smart meters themselves, which most UK homes are scheduled to get by 2019, to devices in the home that communicate with the meters.

Smart meters going into UK homes allow two-way communication home utility meters and the utility companies, using an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) network. While some small-scale deployments have happened, it is expected that the mass rollout will start in the second half of 2014.

The firm expects the first benefit seen to consumers in the UK will be the end of estimated billing. UK regulations will call for in-home displays (IHDs), installed with the smart meters, to give consumers the ability to monitor and manage energy use. The research firm sees potential revenues to IHD makers in the UK of 400 million British Pounds in the next five years.

The smart meters will also allow for time-of-day energy pricing incentives, giving consumers cost savings for using more energy at non-peak hours. This, in turn, can enable reduction in the use of the most expensive electric power plants, which are often back-up power generation plants employed only needed and often producing the most of pollution.

In households belonging to the time-of-day price incentive programs, local utilities will have the capability to temporarily reduce the power consumption of certain specific in-home smart appliances. When demand crosses certain thresholds, for example, water heater power may be temporarily limited. In-home thermostats may be adjusted to their most efficient levels for quarter-hour increments.

It has been posited in the United States that success of similar Smart Grid strategies will hinge upon providing homeowners with the freedom to choose whether or not to participate in such pricing incentive programs and even to have the ability to override these temporary adjustments. Use models suggest that many such adjustments (such as 15 minutes of more efficient air-conditioner operation on a hot afternoon) will go unnoticed by home occupants.

However, the impact on energy use of coordinated control of energy use can be significant - and can even avert the need to build new peak-power generation plants.

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