Utilita Energy announces new energy-saving technology trial

Energy & Efficiency, News


Utilita Energy and partners launch an in-home trial to automate access to cheaper, greener energy

Energy provider Utilita has joined forces with smart technology company Hildebrand, the University of Salford and the Data Communications Company (DCC), to demonstrate how a new ‘Smart Energy Control’ Internet of Things (IoT) device can completely automate a home’s energy use.

The trial is being funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to innovate the functionality of the smart meter system in the interest of reaching its 2050 net zero obligation.

At the centre of the trial is Hildebrand’s innovation – a Standalone Auxiliary Proportional Controller (SAPC) – a device connected to the DCC communications infrastructure, that communicates with and proportionally controls power loads within the home, including internet-connected white goods, heat pumps, energy storage batteries used in conjunction with solar PV, and the charging of electric vehicles.

The new hub will enable an automatic shift of the power consumption – up or down, or on and off – of connected items in response to the National Grid energy mix, enabling savings for the pocket, and less reliance on fossil fuels for the planet. The innovation will, it is hoped, see households better equipped to respond to the UK’s Electricity System Operator’s (ESO) Demand Flexibility Service (DFS), for example.

Utilita’s role in the trial will be to install the new Smart Energy Control hub technology into homes that use low carbon technologies such as heat pumps, EV chargers and solar battery storage, and track the technology’s performance in helping to reduce energy consumption. The trial is due to begin in August 2024 and will run for six months.  

Says Archie Lasseter, Head of Sustainability at Utilita:

“The ESO Demand Flexibility Service is vital in helping homes access cheaper and greener energy, but its reliance on consumers to act is one of its main challenges.

 “As experts in consumer energy behaviour, and based on our recent consumer focus groups with those who took part in Utilita’s Power Payback sessions, we identified the reliance on consumers to remember to make changes was one of the scheme’s biggest challenges. Despite the greatest intentions, life gets in the way of making changes at home.

“Hildebrand’s Energy Control technology will enable an automatic adjustment of the energy consumption of connected technologies, meaning the customer can benefit from the savings without giving it a second thought – this is a big turning point for a truly smart home.” 

Chris Price
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