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To save money, energy and the planet, it pays to be smart

Pinergy’s smart metering ‘brings new transparency to how you use energy at home’

The latest Pinergy Lifestyle App helps families with smart meters better manage their energy usage. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/Coalesce

The latest Pinergy Lifestyle App helps families with smart meters better manage their energy usage. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/Coalesce

 

ESB Networks is rolling out a smart meter programme nationwide.

Customers of renewable electricity provider Pinergy have been using smart meters for years.

In tandem with the national rollout, it has launched a new product, Pinergy Lifestyle, to help users optimise their energy efficiency even more.

“Smart metering brings a new transparency to how you use energy in your home,” says David Slattery, Pinergy’s head of marketing.

The company has used its experience of smart metering to develop a suite of new bill pay products for consumers, called Pinergy Lifestyle.

The three new “time of use” tariffs are based on the ways in which families have adapted their lifestyles over the past year.

The plans are called Work From Home, Family Time, and Drive Time.

Work From Home offers a 30 per cent discount for energy usage from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.

Family Time operates daily 6pm-10pm and offers customers a 40 per cent discount of standard tariffs.

Drive Time is designed to best meet the needs of families looking to charge their electric vehicles (EVs) overnight at a low-cost rate.

They mark the company’s move from being a pay-as-you-go electricity provider only, to also offering monthly bill pay options for domestic users.

The past year has seen a number of changes in the way we live, which is reflected in the plans, says Slattery. Many people are now working from home and expect to continue doing so even after the pandemic has abated.

Pinergy’s smart meter data also shows how energy hungry the hours of 6pm-10pm are in a busy family home, as children come home from school or childcare and parents swap laptops for cooker tops.

“Each of the plans was developed around people’s lifestyles, as a result of the insights smart metering gives in relation to the way we live our life today,” he says.

That includes the way in which we expect to interact with businesses, from shops to banks, which we now expect to do via our phones. “

With traditional utility companies, bills come weeks after the billing period, making it hard to match usage with price. Estimated bills make it harder still.

No more estimates

Smart metering does away with estimated bills, and Pinergy Lifestyle takes this further, allowing you to see from the app exactly how much energy you used the just the day before.

You can track activity daily, weekly and monthly , and benchmark against yourself as well as similar households which makes it easier to change behaviours, save money and take a more sustainable approach.

“The move towards conscious consumption is a huge trend and people are more aware than ever of how they use things, in order to reduce waste. We see energy waste as a big problem, too, particularly as, over the coming years, demand for electricity is set to grow,” says Slattery.

In time, smart metering, when combined with microgeneration tools such as solar power, will enable people to sell energy back to the grid and even to neighbours.

As a utility, electricity hasn’t always been the most exciting of subjects for consumers, he admits, but that’s about to change. “It’s going through a huge revolution,” he says.

“Pinergy is 100 per cent renewable electricity, and that’s really important. But the second part of that is how we use it.” That’s where the app comes in, he says. “It’s really important that we optimise energy, not waste it.”