Boston Spa Energy Efficiency Trial

Some of you know that I have had a bee in my bonnet for a few years about energy savings in our village. It even appears in our Neighbourhood Plan (see page 38 under Community Actions CAE4). 

My background in the Electricity Supply Industry has caused me to get right close up to what has been happening on the network in NPg (previously YEB and NEEB).

What I have found has been alarming and truly significant for all of us. 

Did you know that it has been a consistent policy across the whole of the UK for the electricity companies to keep your volts much higher than you need?

Did you know that you have been paying about £20-£50 extra each year for the past 20 years?

Did you know that as a consequence the generators have been pumping out about 5% extra CO2? 

I was so convinced that the voltage was unnecessarily high that when I built our new house, I included a step down transformer near to the meter to reduce my received NPg volts by 15 volts. The house works perfectly and I have been enjoying savings of approximately £60 per year for the last 4 years.

In the last two years, I have escalated my argument to the OFGEM regulator in the hope that he will change the rules to make the industry act more responsibly.

I have become a customer representative on the Northern Powergrid Stakeholder Panel and in 2019, made a presentation to them which caused them to take notice.

And they did … they demonstrated that they are a listening organisation and have responded in a most positive manner and have committed lots of resource and money to carry out a very significant and far reaching trial which is centred on OUR village, BOSTON SPA.

The project is underway NOW. Everyone from the Directors downwards in NPG is excited. I am thrilled because I am on the Project Board and am challenging/supporting them at every step of the way.

The information will be shared across the country and the potential UK savings are £750m in annual energy bills and a reduction of about 1 million tons of CO2 every year.

On 12 August 2020, Northern Powergrid (NPg) organised a Virtual Festival (Zoom) to present their intriguing innovation credentials to the World and at the Top of The Bill was … (drum roll):-

                                          Boston Spa Energy Efficiency Trial (BEET)

(Featuring the BEET box – a clever bit of kit which receives information from Smart Meters and tells the dispatch voltage to change.)

The presentation is now available on YouTube – Northern Powergrid Innovation Festival – Boston Spa Energy Efficiency trial

  • Duration: 30 min presentation and 20 mins Q & A.
  • Format: Slide description of the voltage problem and the proposed solution.
  • Target Audience: Electricity consumers, policy makers, climate change activists, network engineers.         

Please take a look and learn how your smart meter can help save the planet. Spread the word!

You can help persuade Government to bring in legislation to ensure that Ofgem measure voltage optimisation across all UK power networks. Click here to sign the petition and start sharing it.

You can also write to other individuals, organisations and your local MP – the template below may help:

Dear XXXX

Spreading the Word – an initiative to help save the Planet

Here in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, we are actively trying to help in the battle against global warming and are working on many local initiatives including tree planting, reduction of waste, recycling, energy efficiency, encouragement of walking and cycling etc. 

However, we have found, within our community, a special person who has a deep understanding of the electricity supply system and who has identified a universal failure by the electricity utility companies which supply our homes and businesses. He has successfully challenged our local operator (Northern Powergrid) and they have responded positively by commencing a programme which will reduce all energy bills and reduce CO2. This project is specific to our area but we believe that the benefits should be spread across the whole of the UK.

Please read the enclosed document. We think that you will be impressed (and possibly annoyed) by the facts presented. Across the whole of the UK, the voltage being delivered is too high. Your bills are too high.

Will you please help? 

All we ask is that you send a simple covering note with the attached press release to your local MP and ask him/her to sign the petition. MPs can be contacted at  ‘Name XX, MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA’ and correspondence will be automatically forwarded to them.

Many thanks.

(Signed and click here for the document/press release referred to)

2 Comments

  1. Wayne Cramer on November 29, 2021 at 11:29 AM

    Hi Keith,

    interesting learning what you have been doing with NPG and the BEET trial. I’m and electrical engineer, and am also managing director of GWE, founded in 1994.

    We are the UK’s original manufacturer of localised voltage optimisers and have been offering this to customers both domestically and commercially at their local (consumer side) installation, similar to what you have done at your new home. Obviously like your own voltage optimiser, using locally instead of at the substation, you are able to maximise the percentage voltage reduction specific to the property which will in turn maximise savings in £’s and CO2.

    As NPG said in the video, other DNO’s (that we have worked with) have tried various substation level optimisation, but in general the restriction is the voltage drop in the LV supply cables which means that whilst some properties can be optimised other may not on the same submains towards the end of lines. This is particularly a sensitive issue in commercial properties, when they have technical production equipment that may not be suitable for the lower voltages, so we have always found specific localised VO to deliver the best results all round.

    I would be very interested in speaking with you further to see if we can be of value to the project. There may be opportunities to combine localised VO into the project to maximise demand savings further?
    many thanks,
    Wayne.

    • Keith Jackson on November 29, 2021 at 2:00 PM

      Dear Wayne,
      Thanks for reaching out. The BEET programme is making good and steady progress and I would be happy to have a chat. A press release is imminent.
      My tel number 01937 522 536

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