‘Less is More’ for Milton Keynes MP

20th May 2014

Iain Stewart MP received first-hand insight into electricity reduction – and the engineering behind it. Loughton resident Paul Bartlett recently welcomed the Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South into his home to give him a first-hand insight into the electricity demand reduction project ‘Less is More’.

'Less is More' is a collaboration between Western Power Distribution (WPD), the Centre for Sustainable Energy, Community Energy Plus, Marches Energy Agency, Severn Wye Energy Agency and the National Energy Foundation.

'Less is More' and is supported through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund (LCNF). Ten separate communities across the country are taking part in the project.

Less is MorePaul Bartlett, one of 200 ‘Less is More’ participants in Loughton, Milton Keynes, signed up to the challenge of earning up to £5,000 for the local community in late January. Through working together as a community, Loughton residents receive rewards for reducing their electricity use during peak hours and in general. Residents can track in real-time the impact that simple changes in their day-to-day activities have on their electricity consumption. These include activities such as turning off the lights when leaving a room, washing at 30 degrees when possible and not leaving equipment on standby. Loughton residents have already gained more than £1,000 as a community since starting ‘Less is More’ four months ago.

Delivering more than community rewards for Loughton and individual savings for its residents, the ‘Less is More’ project will allow the National Energy Foundation and other energy charity partners to determine what works best in encouraging people to use less energy. It will also enable Western Power Distribution and other distribution network operators to understand the contribution of demand side responses to network management, allowing them to find cheaper and more customer-focused solutions to prepare the electricity grid for the growth of low carbon technologies.

Commenting, Iain Stewart said, “I would like to thank everybody for giving me the opportunity to see this fascinating project up close. Experiencing the consumer-facing side of what is normally rather technical was immensely interesting and definitely brought home the importance of the role that each and every one of us can play in making sure we’re ready for a clean energy future – but also the very impressive work that distribution network operators like WPD are tirelessly working on behind the scenes to make this happen.”

Steven Gough, Innovation and Low Carbon Networks Engineer at Western Power Distribution added, “It is rewarding to see communities reap the benefits of WPD’s innovation. Installing substation monitoring has allowed us to observe the shifts in electricity consumption across Loughton. Hearing Paul speak with such enthusiasm about the changes he has made in his home and daily life is great and reinforces the importance of what we are doing.”

And Rachel Brain, Energy Specialist and Volunteer Manager for the National Energy Foundation said, “Improving the use of energy in buildings is the National Energy Foundation’s overarching objective so we’re delighted to be working with WPD on this very important project in Loughton. The Foundation works on a number of community engagement projects to encourage people to make real changes to improve the way they use energy at home. We’ve had a great response from residents in the Loughton area who are keen to be involved in making a positive difference to both their individual energy bills and the community’s electricity consumption as a whole.”