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£9.8m boost for pioneering electricity projects

Helping people who are struggling to pay their energy bills is the aim of one of two pioneering projects for which UK Power Networks has today won funding.

From Press releases - 2 December 2013 12:00 AM

Helping people who are struggling to pay their energy bills is the aim of one of two pioneering projects for which UK Power Networks has today won funding.

Energy regulator Ofgem has awarded £6.53 million for the Flexible Urban Networks – Low Voltage (FUN-LV) project, part of a total project investment of £8.86 million.

And a further £3.32 million has been awarded to the Vulnerable Customers and Energy Efficiency (VCEE) project, part of the total project investment of £5.49 million.

Both awards come from Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund.

Ben Wilson, Director of Strategy and Regulation and Chief Financial Officer at UK Power Networks, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this money to help us fund two important projects.

“These projects will benefit our own customers and customers nationally, as we will share what we learn. Our success shows UK Power Networks is at the forefront of developing networks for the 21st Century.”

FUN-LV will see power electronics devices trialled for the first time on the low-voltage distribution networks. UK Power Networks will assess the potential to release existing spare capacity in adjacent networks and transfer it to the heavier loaded networks in shorter timescales than conventional reinforcement methods. This has the potential to reduce costs.

UK Power Networks is working with partners PPA Energy, IC Consultants Ltd, IGE Digital Energy Services (UK) Limited and CGI UK Ltd.

Meanwhile, VCEE will encourage the understanding of the requirements of fuel poor customers. It will explore how distribution network operators, working in collaboration with an electricity supplier, housing associations, charitable bodies and local communities, can engage with the fuel poor and encourage their increased participation in energy efficiency and time of use tariffs. This will involve two trials being undertaken with 550 households in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

The project reflects UK Power Networks’ desire to support the fuel poor and facilitate their involvement in the low carbon transition, economising their own energy bills, and accessing offers. Meanwhile, they will play an important role in helping UK Power Networks manage the network, at a time when all the distribution companies are forecasting increasing and uncertain demands.  

The work involves partner organisations: British Gas, University College London, CAG Consultants, Tower Hamlets Homes, Poplar Housing And Regeneration Community Association (HARCA), Bromley by Bow Centre and the Institute for Sustainability.

National Energy Action is the supplier organisation.

For more about UK Power Networks’ innovation projects, visit ukpowernetworks.co.uk/innovation