Digital TV reads smart meters

By Julian Clover

August 13, 2009 08.00 UK

The energy supplier EDF is offering customers a DTT receiver with built in PVR as part of a package to promote smart metering.

Customers that sign up to the two-year long trial receive a package that also includes a ‘communication hub’ that sends information about the customer’s electricity usage to the supplier over GSM. EDF describes this as “like sending a text to a mobile phone”. Powerline technology links the equipment to the customer’s existing broadband set-up while a so-called ‘freedom unit’ is responsible for collating the information within the customer’s premises.

In addition to the regular TV functionality, including up to 60 hours of recording, the digital receiver also features a special menu where customers can monitor their energy usage.

EDF is currently running several trials to test Smart Metering technology. They are supported by the Energy Demand Research Project, which is partly funded by the Government and is managed by Ofgem, the energy regulator.