Unlocking Smarter Tariffs for a Fairer, Lower Cost & Lower Carbon Future

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has released the “Smarter Tariffs – Smarter Comparisons" report. Funded by BEIS, The Smarter Tariffs – Smarter Comparisons project developed an open-source prototype of a tool that demonstrates how individual consumers can use their smart meter data to get accurate, tailored information on the benefits of smart / time of use electricity tariffs.

Vital Energi led a consortium of experts who assessed the market (interviewing suppliers and other key stakeholders like price comparison sites and low carbon technology solution providers) and built the tool iteratively based on consumer feedback. Two thousand representative consumers completed a quantitative survey to capture their attitudes towards smart tariffs; the findings are included in the report.

You can read the report by clicking here.

The half-hourly consumption and price data recorded by smart meters enables innovative products such as export tariffs, electric vehicle tariffs, and dynamic ‘time-of-use’ tariffs that reward consumers for using energy away from peak times or when there is excess clean electricity available. One of the key challenges for consumers is understanding the potential benefits of these tariffs for them and considering them alongside other options, like traditional tariff options.

We understand, as a company, how important it is for customers to be able to access the best tariffs for them and these include tariffs which consider renewable technologies such as heat pumps and Solar PV. We saw this project as being important in promoting the use of smart meter data to benefit the end user and were delighted to lead a consortium of expert industry leaders.”

Denise Neville, Vital Energi - Head of Service Delivery

The project outputs include a working prototype under-pinned by a model which has been open sourced. This can be used as part of a tariff or energy product comparison service (such as a price comparison website), or to demonstrate low carbon technology products. The code for the tool is available to any organisation that wants to adopt it. The demonstration prototype can already implement its main functions and is ready for further development and integration to support specific market applications. While energy suppliers are currently limited in their ability to offer attractive smart tariffs, low carbon technologies are being rolled out at large scale.  As suppliers continue to develop a range of competitive smart tariffs, the tool will give consumers the information they need to switch to the best deals and integrate new products and services including energy storage, smart charging for electric vehicles, and electric heating.

Project outputs demonstrate that by simplifying the process consumers will be more likely to switch to smart tariffs and this increased demand should lead to a wider range of products from energy providers.

Currently there isn’t a tariff comparison tool which lets people compare smart tariffs based on their actual smart meter data; we've demonstrated that by accessing their smart meter data we can clearly show consumers how much they will save when they switch to a time of use tariff. Consumers will benefit from more accurate estimates based on their historical usage, and we can show them what running a new low carbon investment like an EV or Heat Pump would cost. As the market responds to increased demand for these products we expect to see a wider range of solutions to choose from.

Josh Cooper, CEO at Hildebrand

The consortium was led by Vital Energi and made up of Hildebrand, Prof Richard Carmichael of Imperial College London, davies + mckerr, Carbon Trust and Love experience.

The project was funded under the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme and led by BEIS’ Smart Metering Implementation Programme. The Energy Innovation Programme has been succeeded by the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP).