Power Changers – new electricity trial in Victoria encourages small changes for big impacts

Leading electricity distributor, Jemena, in partnership with the Victorian Government, has  launched a new demand response pilot which encourages households in Melbourne’s north to make small changes to their summer electricity usage that will have a big impact on Victoria’s electricity grid.

To be piloted across Alphington, Craigieburn, Eaglemont, East Ivanhoe, Fairfield and Ivanhoe, participants in the Power Changers pilot will be rewarded for modifying their electricity use during peak periods on their local network. To encourage participation, households taking part in the trial can earn rewards points which can be redeemed for cash or donations to local organisations, including local schools. 

Demand response programs are increasingly being offered to customers to encourage them to trim their demand on the grid at peak times, by making adjustments to how and when they use their power.  

Jemena’s Power Changers trial utilises smart meter information, with participants tracking their electricity usage during peak times on a new interactive app, created by Victorian based software company Billcap in conjunction with app developers, GreenBe.

Shaun Reardon, Executive General Manager, Customer and Markets, Jemena, said Power Changers is one of the many innovative programs Jemena is introducing into the community.

“The Power Changers program notifies households when the grid is under pressure. By making small changes to how they use electricity, households can make a big impact on the grid.

“The pilot program uses innovative technology and smart meter data to set targets and provide feedback to households during peak times, enabling our customers to make informed choices about how and when to shift their consumption.

“The availability of smart meter data is significant as Jemena adopts innovative ways to deliver information to households in a simple, convenient and engaging way.  

“Demand response has the potential to assist users and at the same time, benefits the electricity grid. There are an increasing number of demand response pilots across Australia and internationally. Jemena is pleased to focus this trial at a local network level on the residential sector, while encouraging young Power Changers at local schools to get involved,” Mr Reardon said.

Findings from Power Changers will provide important information for further Jemena research into customer behaviour and provide feedback into existing and potential future benefits of smart meters. The findings will also be shared with the Victorian Government to inform future energy policy.

Power Changers was launched at Alphington Primary School, a participating school in the trial, on December 4, 2017.

The Power Changers program will run from December 2017 to March 2018.

To participate

Jemena is seeking interest from its customers to participate in the pilot process. To register interest, click on the appropriate link below:  

Households in the pilot areas of Alphington, Eaglemont, East Ivanhoe, Fairfield and Ivanhoe will participate in the community focused trial, benefiting local community groups and schools. Visit www.jemena.com.au/community

Households in the pilot area of Craigieburn will participate in the rewards program, Visit www.jemena.com.au/rewards