Leading energy company, Jemena, took out the Best Customer Innovation Award for its demand response trial, Power Changers, at the Digital Utility Awards held in Melbourne on 21 March 2019.
The Digital Utility Awards recognise the utility industry’s greatest achievements in the digitisation of utility networks, processes and practices across Australia.
Jemena Managing Director Frank Tudor said it was an honour to be recognised in the area of customer innovation.
“The Power Changers trial was an innovative, technology-led, community program enabling customers to cut their bills, reduce energy and ease demand on the grid,” Mr Tudor said.
“The trial is just one of the many innovative programs we have introduced to benefit our customers. We are already working on other initiatives that use technology to improve the customer experience including a new poles and wires fault reporting tool and a new sign-up process for power outage alerts.”
Digital Utility Award judges commended the trial for using an innovative approach to tackle the issue of power consumption.
"The Jemena application stands out because of its simplicity, novelty and its ability to impact a critical issue for society – power consumption."
The Power Changers demand response trial was a partnership with the Victorian Government that used smart meter data to allow participants to track their real-time energy usage on an app.
Participants were provided incentives to reduce their electricity consumption during peak times on very hot days to ease demand on the grid. Jemena’s trial was unique for offering incentives that benefited the community as well as participants. Incentives included points that could be redeemed for cash and donations to local organisations, including schools.
More than 600 customers took part in the trial across Jemena Electricity Network areas of Alphington, Craigieburn, Eaglemont, East Ivanhoe, Fairfield and Ivanhoe in the Jemena Electricity Network area from December 2017 to March 2018.
“Demand response is gaining momentum both within Australia and internationally for its ability to benefit customers as well as the electricity grid,” said Mr Tudor.
The Power Changers trial showed that participating households were able to reduce their peak electricity consumption by an average of 26 to 35 per cent on very hot days. Findings from the trial will provide important information for further Jemena research into customer behaviour and potential future benefits of smart meters. The findings will also be shared with the Victorian Government to inform future energy policy.