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The top 10 real-time energy data use cases for residential energy insights

Standard meter data-driven Software as a Solution (SaaS) solutions dominate today’s residential energy insights market.

Energy insights services are at the core of many European energy companies’ customer engagement and digital transition strategies, since they can help consumers understand their energy consumption and participate in the energy transition. Over the past five years, smart meter rollouts across Europe have been a key driver enabling more and more energy retailers to provide energy insights services.

Major retailers such as EDF (FR), Eneco (NL), Endesa (ES), etc. have all developed their solutions based on smart meters either in-house or with partners. Therefore, SaaS solutions based on standard smart meter data and AMR / AMI (Automatic Meter Reading / Advanced Metering Infrastructure) have become the mainstream approach to develop an energy insights service.

However, standard smart meter data faces three main challenges.

Despite the advantages of automatic reading and sending, standard smart meters still face some challenges when applied to energy insights services:

  1. Data access is not yet available in every European country. For example, in Germany and Belgium, the nation-wide rollouts have not yet started.
  2. Data granularity from the national datahub / DSOs is not high enough. The typical data interval is 15 mins, but in some markets, only a few data points are recorded every month.
  3. Data latency in some countries may last for several days in practice.

Real-time energy data provides an opportunity to overcome these issues.

Real-time data has inherent advantages over standard smart meter data to overcome the problems above. Energy insights solutions based on real-time data thereby do not rely on processing delays or national rollout programmes. For consumers, receiving real-time energy data can help them better understand the impact of behaviour on consumption and bills. It also helps them take action to save energy and build customer trust whilst accurately displaying energy consumption.

In Delta-EE, our definition of real-time energy insights is to send consumption data to consumers immediately after their energy behaviours. Since the boundaries of data availability are blurred in the industry, we defined data within 1s as truly real-time, and data within 10s as near real-time.

There are various ways and interfaces to provide real-time energy data to consumers. IHD (In-Home Display) is currently the most used channel thanks to the mandatory installation in the Great Britain. According to Smart Energy GB, around 90% of smart meter owners have accepted an IHD and 72% check their energy data at least once per month. In some other countries, such as Ireland and the Netherlands, energy providers have also tested or invested in it during the smart meter rollout. However, we have not seen any other European country that makes IHD mandatory.

Another common method is to connect a sensor or clamps into the home electrical system, which can overcome the barriers of not having smart meters. Some connected home products, such as Eneco’s Toon smart thermostat, can also be connected to the smart meter via local networks and display energy data on its screen.

real time energy data hardware

Ten real-time energy data use cases covering different stages of customer engagement

We have researched the top 10 use cases for real-time energy data combined with analytical insights:

  • Increased home energy awareness and monitoring: The immediacy of feedback loops with real-time data helps develop understanding of energy use in the home.
  • Reduced energy bills and carbon footprint: Moving from energy understanding to action is a small step when the impact is immediate, visual and real.
  • Higher quality of energy insights: Greater data granularity brings higher confidence in device and event detection, leading to more accurate, relevant insights for real-time and smart meter customers.
  • Fault detection and prevention for home appliances: Real-time data helps the smooth operation and performance of energy technology and home appliances, with benefits for both end-users and maintenance companies.
  • Combines connected devices for home energy management: Real-time energy data provides the benchmark and guidance for home energy management from a cost-effective and resilient energy supply perspective.
  • Empowers pre-payment customers: Real-time data has the potential to transform the experience for pre-pay customers.
  • Improves home protection and vulnerable people care: Real-time energy data unlocks out of sector opportunities for new revenue streams through monitoring home and customer energy behaviour
  • Enhanced EV charging propositions: Big opportunity to build on the proliferation of EV chargers in coming years, by incorporating EV charging into real-time whole-home energy intelligence
  • Monitors solar PV and helps optimise self-sufficiency: The mismatch between solar generation and household demand provides strong opportunity for optimising solar energy self-sufficiency.
  • Optimises behavioural and automated demand response: Real-time energy data can be used as a tool to enable residential customers to participate in grid balancing services

For more information on how to apply real-time energy data in different use cases and the future market trends, please see our recent report: Real time energy data: What role does it play for energy insights services? (available to subscribers of our Energy Insights + Service) or get in touch with us.

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