According to a study from geographic information systems (GIS) company Esri UK and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), Nottingham is the UK’s number one ‘Smart Meter City’. The study identified two key zones of the UK as smart meter hotspots - the Midlands Hub and the Trans-Pennine Corridor - due to their concentration of potential Smart Meter Cities.
The assessment is based on the potential for smart meters to benefit consumers by reducing electricity consumption and household bills. The study is aimed at raising awareness of smart meters and highlighting the benefits in reducing electricity bills. It also shows where utility companies should invest time and resources in the smart meter roll-out. The result is the Smart Meter Energy Consumer Choice Indicator (SMECC), ranking the top 20 UK cities likely to benefit most from smart meters.
The study identified the primary zone for investment as the Midlands Hub, with Nottingham ranked in first place, Wolverhampton in second, Birmingham (4), Leicester (6), Coventry (9) and Stoke-on-Trent (11). The second zone was the Trans-Pennine Corridor with Liverpool (5), Manchester (7), Hull (8) and includes Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield. An interactive GIS-based map of the UK hotspots is available here.
Other findings from the study include:
UK cities where there is a high proportion of lower income inhabitants stand to reap the most benefits as Smart Meter Cities.
London ranks only 20th in the UK because it will not benefit from smart meters as much as other cities - energy consumption and bills appear to be more manageable.
Glasgow and Edinburgh are the only cities that have higher energy intensity (consumption per person) than the UK average. Households in these cities may need to change their electricity consumption behaviour to reduce bills.
There is no North-South divide in smart meter potential and that utility companies and the Government should adopt a city-by-city approach, rather than by region, in the smart meter roll-out.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the company also says that Geographical information systems are critical in minimising roll-out costs of smart meters and reducing household electricity bills.
An interesting study, although I’m not sure what its value is. The smart meter roll-out in the UK is due to start in early 2014 and to be completed in 2019. The process has been under discussion for some time and is now in a testing phase - I’m not sure whether there is enough flexibility to prioritise installation or otherwise favour areas that would get the most benefit.