Customer-led Network Revolution

clnrCLNR is an Ofgem administered fund of £500m in total that will be spent over the course of five years. The fund aims to incentivise network and customer facing innovation in the area of demand management and will subsidise demonstration projects which aim to explore and resolve some of the big issues we face as we set up and run smart electricity grids for the future.

Successful projects will teach us how to mitigate / defer some of the potential investment in electricity network infrastructure which could otherwise be required in the UK over the next 20 or so years to accommodate our growing appetite for electricity – this is likely to total billions of pounds unless action is taken now!

Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR)

Through the 2010 competitive bidding process, a consortium led by CE Electric (distribution network operator for the North East of England) and supported by British Gas secured the largest award from the LCN fund.

The project is based in the North East/ Yorkshire and Humber regions of England in an area which spans from Newcastle in the North to Sheffield in the South, encompassing all towns along the North East coast, with Bradford as one of its most Westerly major cities and towns. Leeds, Grimsby, Middlesbrough, and Durham all sit within the project zone.The area represents a diverse range of geographical features and demographic groups and will allow CLNR to understand the impact on the trial on different types of households, and how project the learning from the project could be scaled up most effectively to cover the rest of the UK.

Who’s involved?

  • Northern Powergrid (formerly CE Electric)
  • British Gas
  • Durham University
  • EA Technology
  • NEA

What measures will consumers receive under the CLNF?

The project aims to install, monitor and control a range of customer facing low carbon technologies such as electric vehicle charge-points, air source heat pumps and Solar PV arrays.

Customers in the study will all have smart meters and in home displays installed and may have access to a range of innovative tariffs such as time of use, restricted hours and direct control. A brief description of these tariffs is outlined below:

  • Time of use tariffs – Will provide an incentive to attract people to use their domestic appliances for example their washing machine at a different time of the day – after or before peak usage times 4pm to 8pm.
  • Restricted hours – appliances within the home such as a tumble dryer may be disabled using a remote smart device. Householders will have the opportunity to override this.
  • Direct control tariff – Appliances may be directly controlled using smart signals up to 15 times per year, typically between peak electricity use times.

Ultimately, these tariffs will be designed to encourage customers to use less energy during peak times.

What are the major challenges for the partners involved in the project?

The major challenge we face is engaging with consumers firstly to take part in our trials and then to sustain their involvement. The process will be quite intrusive given that those enrolled will have monitoring equipment installed in their home which will allow us to monitor their consumption and generation. Our thinking is that it’s much easier to enrol existing customers than it is to recruit new ones as purchasing an air source heat pump or a solar PV array is a complex decision for customers to make and our timelines are tight, therefore Northern Powergrid, Durham University and British Gas have been trying to identify existing projects for example those installed (or proposed) under CERT or CESP.

Where can people go for further information about the project?

The project now has a dedicated website where interested parties can find out more about the project and its partners – http://www.networkrevolution.co.uk.

Published on 05-10-2015
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