A pilot project led by Scottish Power Energy Networks and EA Technology Consulting will test smart meters in part of south Liverpool to see if they enable more reliable and efficient use of electricity.
Electricity customers taking part in the trial – covering 1,200 residential properties as well as a number of businesses and schools between Park Road and Princes Road – will be able to monitor their electricity usage and choose the cheapest times of day to run power hungry equipment such as washing machines.
The pilot is funded by Ofgem's £550m Low Carbon Networks Fund, set up for utilities to try out new technology, operating and commercial arrangements. Housing provider Plus Dane Group and Liverpool City Council are offering their properties for the pilot.
The Liverpool SmartGrid trial will be the first of its kind in the UK, following a successful bid overseen by The Mersey Partnership. Lorraine Rogers, chief executive of TMP, said: "The SmartGrid trial will be the catalyst for investment and job opportunities in the Liverpool City region. At this stage, we can't predict how much investment and how many jobs, but successful development will create demand for meter manufacture; installation engineers; data processing staff and energy advisors. Hosting the SmartGrid trial has the potential to boost innovation and accelerate the move towards a low carbon economy. It also demonstrates Liverpool City Region's capacity to work on world-leading innovation and technology programmes."
Subject to approvals, work is scheduled to start in summer 2010 and the trial will last for two years.