‘Smart Meter Cities’ will thrive in the Midlands and Trans-Pennine Corridor
- Nottingham is the UK’s #1 city for smart meters
- No North-South divide, London ranks only #20 in the UK
- Glasgow and Edinburgh households may need to change their behaviour of electricity consumption
- Low income consumers will get a boost from smart meters, reducing electricity usage and bills
- Utility companies need to think local not regional in electricity smart meter roll-out
- Geographical information systems are critical in minimising roll-out costs of smart meters and reducing household electricity bills
Aylesbury, 15th November 2011 – Esri UK, the leading provider of geographic information systems (GIS), today reveals that Nottingham is the UK’s #1 ‘Smart Meter City’ – based on the potential for smart meters to benefit consumers by reducing electricity consumption and household bills. The study conducted in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) identified two key zones of the UK as smart meter hotspots – the Midlands Hub and the Trans-Pennine Corridor – due to their concentration of potential Smart Meter Cities.
The Esri UK/Cebr study aims to help the public understand the benefit of smart meters (which show consumers how much and where electricity is being consumed in real-time) in reducing household electricity bills, and to show where utility companies should invest time and resources in the smart meter roll-out. The result is the Esri UK Smart Meter Energy Consumer Choice Indicator (SMECC) which has ranked the top 20 UK cities likely to benefit most from smart meters.
The Esri UK SMECC Indicator has identified the primary zone for smart meter investment as the Midlands Hub, comprising Nottingham (#1), Wolverhampton (#2), Birmingham (#4), Leicester (#6), Coventry (#9) and Stoke-on-Trent (#11). The second zone that the Esri UK SMECC Indicator revealed was the Trans-Pennine Corridor which spans from Liverpool (#5) to Hull (#8) and includes Manchester (#7), Bradford (#13), Leeds (#14) and Sheffield (#18).
“The rise in electricity prices and the severity of recent winters is putting huge pressure on UK households. Smart meter technology is one of the steps along with wider energy efficiency measures which will help consumers make better electricity consumption decisions, so they can reduce their bills,” said Peter Mingins, Sector Lead for Utilities and Telecoms, Esri UK. “However, smart meters won’t appear overnight and our study has identified the cities and local authorities that have the biggest potential benefit from smart meters, first. The fact that it is the Midlands Hub and the Trans-Pennine Corridor that are the areas most likely to benefit from smart meters, may indeed surprise some people. This clearly illustrates the importance which geographic intelligence will play in the roll-out of smart meters, both for consumers and for utility providers.”
Additional key findings:
- For 90% of the Top 20 cities, price sensitivity rather than energy intensity is the determining driver for saving money through smart metering. This is because the impact of rising electricity prices is higher on households, due to monthly electricity bills being bigger relative to disposable incomes in the majority of those cities. Therefore, smart meters will play a major role in reducing consumption and bills.
- UK cities where there is a high proportion of lower income inhabitants stand to reap the most benefits as Smart Meter Cities, eight of the top 10 cities having 60% or more inhabitants with a lower middle class/working class or unemployed social-demographic (e.g. 67.4% in Nottingham). Consequently, consumers are more likely to be receptive to new flexible tariffs offered by energy suppliers, enabled by the installation of smart meters.
- At a city-level, London will not benefit from smart meters as much as other cities, ranking #20, as energy consumption and bills appear to be more manageable relative to disposable incomes.
- However, due to London’s large socio-demographic diversity, the study only reveals part of the picture. An even more granular approach is needed (by London authority) and the Esri UK SMECC Indicator revealed that, unlike the rest of the UK where cities with a higher proportion of lower income households would get the most potential benefit, the findings suggest that London authorities with higher income households (i.e. AB) would have the biggest potential benefit from smart meters. The top 5 authorities in London are: the City (#1), Kensington & Chelsea (#2), Bromley (#3), Sutton (#4) and Barnet (#5).
- Glasgow and Edinburgh are the only cities that have higher energy intensity levels than the UK average. This could be explained by a number of subtle factors, including the local climate conditions since they are the most Northern Smart Meter Cities. The findings could suggest that households in these cities may benefit from making behavioural changes to electricity consumption to reduce bills.
- The Esri UK / Cebr study highlights that when it comes to Smart Meter Cities there is no North-South divide and that in fact utility companies and the Government should adopt a city-by-city approach, rather than by region, in the roll-out of smart meters to UK households.
 ‘The Esri UK Smart Meter Energy Consumer Choice Indicator’, compiled by Cebr, October 2011
 The ‘energy intensity’ indicator is the electricity consumption per person, while ‘price sensitivity’ is the amount of electricity consumed relative to disposable income, e.g. a household with a low income but high electricity bills will be highly price sensitive. The composite of both energy intensity and price sensitivity indicators, weighted by the distribution of socioeconomic status in each local authority, creates the Smart Meter Energy Consumer Choice (SMECC) Indicator.
UK’s Top 20 Smart Meter Cities
The Esri UK Smart Energy Consumer Choice (SMECC) Indicator is based on the relative importance of energy consumption and price sensitivity in the roll-out of smart metering. Based on the SMECC indicator compiled by Cebr, the top 20 UK Smart Meter Cities are ranked below:
- Kingston upon Hull, City of
- Glasgow City
- Edinburgh, City of
- Bristol, City of
- Newcastle upon Tyne
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About Esri UK
Esri UK is the leading provider of geographic information system (GIS) technology, helping businesses become more profitable and public service more efficient through a better understanding and analysis of location-based information. Esri UK offers an extensive range of GIS technology and professional services and is the only company in the UK providing a complete and entirely integrated GIS solution.
Esri UK has been providing GIS solutions for over 20 years to a wide range of markets including Central & Local Government, Utilities & Telecommunications, Defence & National Security, Education, Public Safety and Commercial. Customers include Birmingham City Council, Defra, the Environment Agency, Metropolitan Police Service, Ministry of Defence, Ordnance Survey, RSA Group, Scottish Power and The Crown Estate.