Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

SMART-UP Report Summary

Project ID: 649669
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.7.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SMART-UP (Vulnerable consumer empowerment in a smart meter world)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The overarching aims of the SMART-UP project are:
1) to increase the active and effective use of smart meters and in-home displays (where fitted) by vulnerable consumers;
2) to encourage vulnerable consumers to change their energy-related behaviours in response to improved feedback information;
and 3) enable vulnerable consumers to make significant energy savings, reduce their fuel bills and seize further opportunities that may be offered by demand-response services (time varying tariffs, direct load control).
The specific barriers are: Consumers do not dispose of clear / easy to read and understand information on smart meters, vulnerable consumers are desperately in need of such information but not only they do not dispose of specific – targeted info for them but not even of general info on energy consumption and smart meters. Consumers in general and even more vulnerable consumers have not understood that energy bill is related to their energy consumption and is not a fixed tax to be paid. Consumers are not familiar with smart meters in general and do not see it as a tool which may help them monitor their energy consumption and even reduce their energy bill.
Consumers in general find difficult to know how much are they consuming, how much will they have to pay in the next bill or how much you can reduce for example, changing your fridge. For vulnerable consumers it is exacerbated. This is one of the main barriers to overcome with this project.
These aims will be achieved by training smart meter installers, social workers and other frontline staff that have contact with vulnerable consumers, so they can advise them on how to use a smart meter and in-home display (IHD) to the best effect. The point of smart meter and IHD installation is decisive, thus installers are a key target group alongside frontline staff.
The objectives of this project are as follows:
- Existing training packages will be adapted to the different national contexts (French, English, Spanish, Maltese, and Italian): one for training smart meter installers, and another for frontline staff in contact with vulnerable consumers. Guidelines on how to fit the training packages to other Member States’ contexts will be developed;
- Installers and/or other frontline staff will be trained in each partner’s country (between 30 and 60) to enable them to deliver enhanced support and advice to 1,000 vulnerable consumers during the course of the project (5,000 households advised in total); these households will be empowered to use their smart meter effectively (with an IHD or an energy monitoring tool where no IHD is provided);
- Vulnerable consumers will be encouraged to take action by changing energy-related behaviours and consumption habits in order to achieve an average of 10% energy saving;
- Installers and frontline staff will signpost vulnerable consumers to available grants and assistance they can access additional support to repair or replace heating systems and inefficient appliances where appropriate;
- Different types of interventions will be trialled at a small-scale, among 60 to 65 households in each country; these trials will involve testing some IHDs in the countries where they are not currently included in the smart meter roll-out (France, Spain, Italy) and some advanced training/ advice, integrating follow-up calls and an aftercare service in their protocol;
- Key stakeholders in each partners’ country will be involved (energy suppliers, DSOs, installers, local authorities, housing associations, social worker associations/organisations) to ensure further dissemination of the training packages;
- A report will be produced detailing the assessment of the qualitative and quantitative impacts of the support delivered to participating vulnerable households, in terms of:
• energy savings and fuel bill reduction
• improved indoor comfort
• changes made in everyday practices (consumer habits), reasons for these changes and sustainability of these changes
• changes in their energy consumption behaviour
• perceptions of smart metering and the associated energy services (follow-up, aftercare services and demand response services that may be offered)

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Since the beginning of the project, the work performed in the first time, has allowed to develop all the tools necessary for future stages of the project, in particular:
• the development of ethics related reports,
• the engagement strategy with stakeholders, in charge of conducting the investigation and inform households about the features of the smart meter,
• the content of training dedicated to installers or social workers adapted to each national context of the countries-members of the project,
• the training manual to help trainers to deliver training,
• the energy consumption monitoring tool to be provided to vulnerable households,
• the questionnaire that will be administered to households during the first visit in order to know them, to understand their relationship to energy and to know their energy consumption for the last months,
• database to collect the responses to the questionnaire and prepare their treatments
• the design of the website: www.smartup-project.eu
• the dissemination plan
In the second time, we have carried out all the tasks foreseen for the first 18 months’ period:
• to organise 29 training sessions that led to train 466 people. In parallel, actions have been realised to keep stakeholders informed of the progress of the project and to assist them in developing actions for vulnerable people.
• to involve households and visit them, to make them aware of the functionality offered by smart meters and how they can use it to make energy savings. In spite of the great difficulties encountered in UK and France due to the weak number of smart meters installed. Until now about half of the number of households expected to be involved has been visited.
• Concerning the pilot, it has been decided to postpone the launch of the pilot. In the different countries, the Pilot will start from September and will last 6 or 8 month instead of 12 months as initially foreseen.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The operational phases are not yet completed, it is therefore difficult to make an first socio-economic assessment of the project. For these issues, we have to wait the secaond half of 2017.

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