RORY STEWART TO LAUNCH NATION’S FIRST ‘SMART-GRID’ TOWN IN WIGTON

After months of behind-the-scenes work, Rory will on May 11th officially launch Wigton as a national ‘smart-grid’ pilot town, in a pioneering project that aims to address fuel poverty, and give energy consumers in Wigton – both private and business – the means to control their energy usage and have more say in the energy providers they use.

The launch is a major milestone in Rory’s campaign for Wigton to become the country’s leading example of ‘smart energy’. He now hopes to establish the market town as a ‘smart-energy community’: making the town an example of how smart-energy appliances can be used.

Rory is working in collaboration with Silver Spring Networks (SSN), a leading international provider of smart-energy applications, and the inaugural event – to be held in Wigton’s Market Hall at 3pm on Saturday May 11th-  will involve Rory, local town and community representatives, and members of Silver Spring Networks. Members of the public are warmly welcomed.

Rory said: “This is a hugely significant event for Wigton: not only does it put Wigton on the map as a community willing to take practical steps to address fuel poverty, but is the beginning of many other potential benefits to both residents and businesses in the town. Our aim is to grow the pilot so that it will, eventually, cover more homes, businesses and public spaces, creating a true town-wide network. The long-term benefits to Wigton are huge: greater energy options, the means to control energy usage and reduce bills, explore innovative heating solutions, and even the use of electric vehicles. There will be no hidden costs in energy bills, and this initiative comes at no cost to any Wigton resident: it is all about people making energy savings through becoming more energy-aware, and we are extremely lucky to have secured such an exciting opportunity for the people of Wigton.”

Local trial smart energy meters will be officially ‘switched-on’ in both residential and community premises, such as in the Innovia factory, at the Nelson Thomlinson School, and on the Greenacres Estate. The meters will act as a practical showcase of the benefits of smart-metering, enabling Wigton residents to monitor energy usage and potentially run smart-energy devices from a town-wide network. The smart meters operate over a wireless-based communications network, and data gathered will enable residents to make more informed decisions about energy efficiency, home investment and the energy use of appliances. At the heart of the initiative is the sharing of insight and learning across the community via a display area in the Market Hall, websites and communal discussion.

Brian McGuigan of Silver Spring Networks, who leads the initiative in Wigton,  said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the town and see their enthusiasm for the initiative.  They have been engaged and interested in how they can take control of their energy in the future.  It will be exciting to build on the early learning and bring further benefits to the community”.

James Pace, Managing Director of Silver Spring Networks in UK said: “Silver Spring Networks is focused on empowering consumers and communities to take control of their energy costs through the practical use of data available to them from smart meters. We are proud to work in partnership with the town of Wigton and Rory, their Member of Parliament, to accelerate consumers achieving control of their energy use and associated cost saving benefits as envisaged by the government from the forthcoming full smart metering roll-out.  We look forward to our future work together to extend the initiative across the community, to trial the benefits for the town of new technologies and to share the learning from Wigton with other communities.”

For further information about the Wigton ‘Smart Energy Community Initiative’ or to explore how to get involved please contact Mark Coyle at Silver Spring Networks using [email protected]com and phone 0780 779 7457.

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