On Saturday Rory celebrated the first milestone in Wigton’s journey to becoming a ‘smart-energy community’, at an event he hosted to introduce members of the public to the potential benefits of installing the latest generation of smart-meters into their homes and businesses.

Rory has brought together a number of local volunteers, and private sector companies, including Silver Spring and Electricitry Northwest to pilot the latest smart-grid technology in a town which has severe fuel poverty. The meters have now been installed in a small number of residential houses, businesses and community spaces – including Nelson Thomlinson School, Wigton Youth Station, and the Barnardos premises. The meters allow residents and businesses, to gain real-time information on their energy use. Residents have already seen at first hand the impact of minor domestic appliances like kettles, on their energy bill, through the meters, and are changing their behaviour and saving money. As the pilot progresses, the Electricity companies will also be able to offer flexible tariffs through the meters, and improve the efficiency of their distribution and transmission network – ‘keeping Britain’s lights on’.

The next stage in the pilot, will see meters and information screens – containing real-time information about energy usage – installed in public spaces in Wigton, to allow the public to see the details of energy use in each premise. This will be followed by a drive to bring a smart grid to system to at least ten per cent of the homes in Wigton.

Rory said: “Wigton’s potential as a smart-energy community is enormous. This is just the first step in a very important journey, that of putting Wigton on the map as a major national pilot, as government invests in energy-saving intiatives that could see the country converted to smart-grids in the near future. At the heart of the project is energy efficiency, and giving consumers the power to monitor usage through these intelligent devices, shop around for suppliers, and trial other energy-saving appliances to run from the network. The community have put in a great deal of work to reach this stage – in association with Silverspring, for whom many thanks are due.  ”

Local Mayor Debbie Stafford, who has one of the meters installed in her home, praised the device, saying: “This has really changed our lives. The whole family has got involved in using the meter, which tells us which appliances use the most energy. As a result we are changing our habits, for example we are boiling a thermos of water in the morning to use throughout the day, as the kettle uses up so much energy. This is a brilliant way of checking how much electricity we are using, and I really recommend it very highly and look forward to more households signing up.”

Wigton households interested in joining the smart-meter initiative are encouraged to email Rory at [email protected] or to call the Constituency Office on 01768 484 114

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