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Endeavour Energy, in partnership with smart metering company Intellihub, has launched a world-leading demand response program designed to improve the way off-peak electricity systems operate.

Partnering with ten energy retailers, the two companies have installed smart meters at 2,500 homes across Albion Park in Shellharbour, NSW, delivering remarkable environmental and customer benefits.

Endeavour Energy’s CEO, Guy Chalkley, said the innovative program, called Off Peak Plus, would improve network performance, help save customers money and speed the transition to a low-carbon future.

“Endeavour Energy initiated this program to solve the problem of replacing and upsizing a 50-year-old, off-peak control system in its nearby substation,” Mr Chalkley said.

“By using advanced smart meters, instead of investing in expensive old technology at the substation, Endeavour Energy can save real dollars and cents for our customers by finding ways to help them capture more affordable solar energy.

“We’ll also be able to access energy and power quality data through the smart meter to help us better respond to issues and outages, particularly during storms, giving customers even safer and more reliable energy.

“The installed meters can dynamically control hot water systems, allowing them to be switched on during the day when surplus power is being generated from household solar systems, helping lower customers’ electricity bills.”

NSW Energy Minister, Matt Kean, said with almost a quarter of all homes now using solar, Off Peak Plus would give customers more control over their electricity use and enable excess solar power generated locally to be used by neighbours to heat their hot water systems.

“Nowhere else in Australia are we seeing this level of collaboration and innovation within the electricity sector to produce community-wide benefits,” Mr Kean said.

“This state-of-the-art program has found a way to manage peak energy demand, helping to future proof the grid with even more home solar systems.

“The smart meters will also detect safety issues with a customer’s installation, and help detect network issues and outages, particularly during storms and incidents.”

The program is managed by Intellihub, a leading Australian metering provider specialising in products that enhance grid visibility and data insight.

Intellihub CEO, Adrian Clark, said,“It’s an innovative project, not just because of the technology, but how it’s being used to benefit customers, the environment and industry all at once. 

“Endeavour Energy is showing the industry how to work together and share the benefits of technology and collaboration.”

How the smart meters work to control hot water systems

Endeavour Energy’s Albion Park Zone Substation was commissioned around 1970 and provides power to about 10,000 homes and businesses in the region.

About 2,500 homes connected to the substation also use electric hot water tank systems for their hot water needs and about one quarter of homes in the area have installed solar PV systems.

The Albion Park load control unit is old and due for replacement. However, rather than replace the system with old technology, Endeavour Energy is providing the load control service via smart meters installed at customer switchboards.

Endeavour Energy will be sent energy and network data from each meter, that will provide greater visibility of the low voltage network and household connection.

It can help detect serious safety issues with neutral connections, detect when power is out and provide insights on voltage fluctuations resulting from solar power flowing back into the grid.

This will in turn enable more solar PV to be safely installed behind the meter at homes and businesses.

The meter can also control hot water systems, so they can soak up excess solar power, just like a virtual power plant or storage system.

The hot water systems can be individually switched on and off remotely via a communicating modem in the smart meter.

It means solar generated in the community on local rooftops will be consumed locally via hot water systems. 

It will mean retailers can provide new products for electric vehicle charging, batteries or other forms of load control or demand response services to reduce peak demand and electricity costs.

It can work with apps to break down energy use or solar power generation in the home and allow remote connection and monthly billing to help manage household budgets.

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