British Electricity Supplier to Leverage Digital Innovation to Address Energy Poverty

Western Power Distribution, an electricity supplier based in the UK has launched a new initiative to address consumer energy poverty by leveraging digital technology. At the heart of their initiative lies the usage of smart meters to collect accurate data on consumer usage and patterns

 A view of WPD’s smart meter outlined in their Smart Meter Strategy 2020, a new initiative to bring digital innovations into the business of supplying electricity. Credit: Western Power Distribution’s website


A view of WPD’s smart meter outlined in their Smart Meter Strategy 2020, a new initiative to bring digital innovations into the business of supplying electricity. Credit: Western Power Distribution’s website

Western Power Distribution, an electricity supplier based in the UK has launched a new initiative to address consumer energy poverty by leveraging digital technology. At the heart of their initiative lies the usage of smart meters to collect accurate data on consumer usage and patterns. In addition to this, Western Power Distribution will collaborate with communities to transition to renewable energy deployment. The initiative is being called the Vulnerability and Energy Networks, Identification and Consumption Evaluation (VENICE). Funding for Western Power Distribution’s efforts is being provided by Ofgem’s National Innovation Allowance.

VENICE’s efforts to build partnerships with communities on renewable energy will be based around creating a net-zero community in Cornwall in association with the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN). This includes assessing the impact on consumers that shifting to electrified transport and heat networks is causing, with a special focus on energy poverty. WREN and Western Power Distribution will test multiple business models to identify the best way for communities to decarbonise in a just manner while achieving net-zero targets.

In an effort to spur digital innovations in the field of energy, Western Power Distribution will also focus on using smart meter data to identify energy poverty. By collaborating with Frazer-Nash consultancy, the electricity distributor will test models to detect fuel poverty by analysing data collected from smart meters. Smart metering will enable the creation of a Vulnerability Prediction model which will use consumer energy usage history to detect patterns in vulnerability.

Western Power Distribution’s Innovation Engineer, Stuart Fowler said: “The next few years will see a dramatic change in the way we use electricity to live our lives. Many of us will soon be driving electric vehicles while also installing heat pumps. These changes will help us to make huge steps in tackling climate change and achieving the aim of becoming a net zero nation. While this will be a challenge for us all, we must ensure that the needs of those who are fuel poor and vulnerable are considered.”

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