The UK Government has taken a different approach to introducing smart metering to most other countries in the world: it has put consumers at the heart of the programme. This means that consumer benefits are central to the rationale for smart metering, and that the programme is designed primarily to deliver benefits to consumers.
so WHAT IS AN IN HOME DISPLAY?
At its simplest is a unit that provides consumers with real time information from their electricity and gas meters. Whilst some of this data is available on the meters themselves, a fuller set of data is transmitted wirelessly using a Home Area Network (HAN) to a display that can be placed in a suitable location in the home. Furthermore, good IHDs seek to present this data in a more understandable format, often using graphics and alerts rather than sometimes unintelligible numbers. The mandate has driven a considerable amount of innovation around IHDs which continue to develop at a rapid pace in line with other consumer devices.
The sort of information an IHD can provide is illustrated below. Here the level of electricity being used is shown in a speedometer format so, as in a car, users can see at a glance if they are “speeding”, i.e. using a lot of electricity. Similarly, the size of the gas flame shows the amount of gas they have been using. They are therefore able to judge if this is as they would expect or, for example, if the heating on when they don’t need it, or they have left an electrical appliance running
This “at a glance information” is one of the most important elements of an IHD: it gives users the opportunity to adjust their level of consumption now, thus avoiding unnecessary usage and saving money. Historical information has its value, but the energy has already been used and therefore cannot be saved.
Electric Heating energy accounts for the largest percentage of Britain’s household energy use by far. In order to seriously achieve government targets of cutting CO2 from housing and helping the environment, heating energy savings need to start being made now.