A new program from Powercor has saved more than 1000 Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula residents a combined total of $50,000, while helping reduce energy demand on the local network on hot summer days.

Energy Partner – a demand management program conducted between 1 December 2018 and 31 March 2019 – financially rewarded households for reducing their electricity use on high peak demand days.

On one day alone, this helped save 474kW or enough electricity to power more than 200 homes.

As part of the program, a smart device was installed in 1067 participants’ homes to allow both residents and network distribution business Powercor to set temperatures on air conditioning units. Three peak events were declared and 93 per cent of participants got involved.

Powercor Head of Digital – Network, Luke Skinner, said participants had successfully reduced electricity demand on the Waurn Ponds and Drysdale zone substations during days of high energy use.

“By taking part, customers were able to earn up to $60 for making some simple steps to reduce their energy use,” Mr Skinner said.

“Powercor is focused on delivering a reliable, affordable, safe and flexible network for all customers and demand management allows us to cost effectively manage our networks.

“On hot days, energy use can skyrocket and this puts pressure on power infrastructure. By increasing the temperature on their air conditioners by a few degrees, our participants played a big part in reducing peak demand on the local network.

“By curbing demand during these peak periods, we are able to defer expensive upgrades to accommodate just a handful of days and keep power prices lower for customers.”

Registered households received a free ‘Sensibo Sky’, a small controller that connects to a split system air conditioner via WIFI and allows the unit to be controlled via an app. On days when a peak event was declared, Powercor notified households when it intended to set the temperature on the air conditioner up to a maximum of 26 degrees.

Customers had time to pre-cool the home and were also able to opt-out of events. Participants received $20 for every event they participated in.

The Energy Partners program will continue in 2019/2020.

Before joining the Utility team, Eliza worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years. Eliza has the rare talent of being able to find the nuggets of gold in otherwise average source material, and like any self-respecting member of gen-Y is a whiz when it comes to social media marketing and management.

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