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Voltage control trial suggests huge savings for customers without them even knowing

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Image: Electricity North West.

Electricity North West has said consumers could be saved around £300 million over the next 25 years simply by lowering their electricity supply with voltage controllers without anyone noticing a difference in their power supply.

As part of its Customer Load Active System Services (CLASS) project, the distribution network operator (DNO) carried out a year-long trial using voltage control to manage electricity consumption at peak times.

The technology is used to make small reductions in voltage supposedly without customers noticing, but these changes allow Electricity North West to save a significant amount of power for the region and therefore money for customers.

The DNO said the voltage controllers, which also utilise an advanced network management system to link Electricity North West’s control centre with National Grid’s, will also make it easier to adopt low carbon technologies onto the electricity network and avoids or defers the cost and disruption of network reinforcement.

The company has already installed the equipment at three sites at Middleton, Macclesfield and Willow Bank near Oldham, which each supply around 10,000 customers, with a further 100 sites set to be completed in the next few months.

Steve Cox, engineering and technology director for Electricity North West, said: “We are extremely proud of our award-winning CLASS project and we’re excited that it’s now being rolled out across the North West as it will bring savings to all of our customers.

“The way electricity is generated, delivered and used is changing quicker than ever before and we’re delighted to be at the forefront of this energy revolution.

CLASS will eventually be rolled out at up to 260 major substations across the North West, which serve nearly 2 million customers. The DNO is predicting the technology could save customers in the region £100 million over the next 25 years and three times that much across Great Britain.

“We are always looking at ways we can use new technology to improve our service and this ground-breaking approach can be used to help balance electricity supply and demand for the whole of Great Britain,” Cox added.

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