A simple and innovative aid to energy efficiency

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Lynn Schofield, communications manager at Jersey Electricity, explains how the utility company’s new app can help customers to save money and reduce their household emissions

JERSEY’S first Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change concluded this week after 14 meetings to consider the environmental issues Jersey faces and what path and pace the Island should follow to become carbon neutral.

Whatever recommendations for action the panel of 45 randomly selected Islanders puts before the government to help to inform future policy on the issue, energy conservation and energy efficiency will have a key role.

Currently, 37% of Jersey’s overall emissions emanate from buildings, with the thermal efficiency of much housing stock poor. Retrofitting energy-conservation measures in older properties is more complex and expensive than in new builds, where efficiencies of up to 80% can be achieved. However, it is relatively easy to deliver a minimum of 10% to 15% saving in energy consumption from improved insulation, energy-efficient lighting and energy controls, so the investment will pay back over time.

Jersey Electricity works hard to help customers in this area. It has long offered a free home-energy-advice service through its mobile customer advisers, and further expert advice is available in its Smarter Living showroom, which was opened in 2018 to demonstrate high-efficiency, low-carbon heating and hot-water systems and controls.

Now, the Island-wide rollout of Smart Meters, combined with JE’s communications systems, has enabled the utility to launch its most innovative aid to energy-efficiency to date. The My JE customer app makes understanding and managing electricity consumption and reducing costs easier than ever before by relaying the usage data the meters collect back to customers in kWhs (unit) and pounds.

Almost 9,000 Islanders have now downloaded My JE, and feedback is very positive.

JE head of customer care Brian O’Gorman said the app helped one customer to save £8 a day by quickly highlighting a fault on their heating system which would have otherwise gone undetected until they received their bill which, by then, would have been significantly inflated.

‘Because the app shows consumption in kWhs (units) and £s daily, weekly or monthly, this customer quickly noticed an unusual spike in her daily consumption from £5 to £13 and contacted us asking what was causing it,’ said Mr O’Gorman. ‘Our data showed a large appliance was running all the time, very likely the immersion water heater.

‘Further investigation revealed the pressure-relief valve on the immersion had developed a fault and a leak, resulting in the immersion continuously heating new cold water replacing the hot water lost in the leak.’

A keen Jersey weather watcher pre-empted a warmer day and lighter winds by turning down their home’s heating thermostat and discovered, via the app, that the move had saved them £4 in just one day.

The app also enables users to view previous bills, transactions and account balances, set weekly or monthly usage targets with notifications to control costs and budget between quarterly bills, and compare usage between similar properties.

Though readily available to download from the App store or Google Play, My JE is still under further development by JE’s own in-house billing provider JENDEV in partnership with Eliq, a leading Swedish provider of energy insights and mobile apps for utility companies.

The next step is to develop the app’s functionality to embrace multi-meter customers, including those on the Buy Back Tariff, three-phase customers, those with multiple premises and Pay As You Go customers.

More information is available at jec.co.uk.

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