The 'Shift & Save' trial involves swapping existing electricity meters with a new 'Smart Digital meter' and will investigate how smart meters and smart grid technology could change homeowners' energy usage patterns to reduce demands on our network, particularly at times of peak demand.
Chris Huntley, NIE Future Networks Manager, is managing the implementation of Smart technologies on the electricity network, he said: "With the introduction of Smart technologies and Smart electricity meters the electricity network is changing for the future. This trial will help us to understand the technology before we roll it out for wide scale adaption on the Northern Ireland network. We have installed smart meters at customers' homes and smart monitoring equipment at three of the distribution substations supplying these customers. We have also installed monitoring equipment at the main electricity substation that supplies the network feeding these homes. This will provide us with additional data to help us to better understand the impact of electricity use on the performance and lifespan of the equipment at this substation at different times of the day and during different weather conditions.
"The 'Shift & Save' trial will run until June 2014 with our initial focus on testing the technology that we have installed. We will then introduce a number of measures, such as 'In Home' energy displays at customers' homes and applying a virtual tariff, to investigate how they can influence when customers use certain appliances like washing machines and dishwashers."
For more information about the 'Shift & Save' trial and Smart technologies visit nie.co.uk/Network.