What is the aim of the study?

The study is one of the largest studies of household energy use ever to be undertaken in England – and we’d very much like your household to be involved. By spending just a short time answering some questions about your household, the kinds of appliances you have and how you use them, and by collecting information on how much electricity you use, you can help us paint a unique and extremely important picture of how energy is used in the home in the Solent region.

This will enable us to understand how electricity use could be reduced at particular times of day when the electricity network can get overloaded. In turn this knowledge will help to substantially reduce the disruption caused by cable replacement work and increase the electricity network’s ability to supply ‘green’ energy. It will also offer the potential to reduce household energy bills and carbon emissions.

How long will it last?

The study will be running until early 2019.

Why me?

Your address has been randomly selected from the Postcode Address File, a list of all the addresses that exist in the country, to ensure that the study represents all types of people and households. This means it’s especially important to us that you take part.

What information do you have about my household?

The only information we have about your household is information that you have provided to us via surveys – we hold no other information about your household.

How many households are being asked to take part?

We have recruited 4,600 households across Hampshire, including Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, to take part in the study.

Who do you want to talk to?

We would like to talk to the person in the household who has, or who shares, the responsibility for paying the electricity bill, and who knows most about electricity use in your household.

What do I have to do?

All we ask of you is to keep the loop kit installed and switched on.  This is important so that the project team can continue to analyse your electricity usage along with other participants across the Solent region.  Your electricity usage data will help us paint a unique and extremely important picture of how energy is used in the home in the Solent region.

What do I get out of it?

As a thank you for taking part, you will have received £30 of high street vouchers.

After this, we will send you £5 of high street vouchers each time you complete the annual telephone survey.

During the course of the project you may also be contacted by members of the project team with suggestions and offers to help your household reduce or change its use of electricity.

What does the equipment consist of?

The equipment will consist of a monitor placed next to your electricity meter which will measure how much electricity the household uses, and a mains powered gateway that fits into your broadband router if you have one by means of an Ethernet cable. This will transmit the consumption information to the project team.

If you do not have a broadband router a SIM will be supplied instead.

Will it affect my broadband connection?

No. The gateway uses your broadband router to transmit the electricity consumption information it receives from the battery powered monitor connected to your meter. It cannot access any personal data or Internet traffic.

It will also not affect the settings of any devices connected to your broadband router and there is no possibility of any viruses or malware being introduced as a result of the gateway being installed. The data volume is roughly equivalent to a single small email per day. This system has been used extensively across UK.

What happens if I change my broadband provider?

It will make no difference if you change your broadband provider, just plug the gateway into your new broadband router via one of the Ethernet sockets.

Will the monitor affect my electricity meter?

No. The monitor simply clips to the electricity cable and has no effect whatsoever on your electricity meter. Millions of monitors similar to these have been provided over recent years, and used by companies such as British Gas, Scottish Power and others.

What will happen if there is a power cut?

If there is a power cut it will not affect the electricity monitor.

How much electricity will the gateway use?

The gateway will use about £1 of electricity in a year.

What will the equipment tell me?

The equipment does not display any information – it is designed to collect information that will be analysed by the project team. Once installed you will be able to view your electricity usage online through the project portal.

What if the equipment stops working?

If there are any issues there will be a helpline number and an email address available on the Loop website so that you can report a problem.

Please go to www.your-loop.com. If there is an issue with the signal from your monitor or gateway we will be alerted automatically and will contact you to see if we can help you resolve the problem.

What if we move house?

We would still very much like you to participate for as long as you occupy the house. If you do move during the course of the study please let us know by contacting us using the details at the end of this leaflet so that we can get in touch with the new occupants to see if they would be happy to continue participating in the study.

Will I be able to keep the equipment once the project is finished?

When the project ends participants will be given the option to have their account decommissioned.

NOTE – The equipment will continue to work until the gateway has been powered down or when the equipment is physically removed

What do I do with the equipment when the project is finished?

When the project ends we will notify you and send you a stamped addressed jiffy bag for you to return the equipment.

Do I need to ask my landlord for permission?

No, there is no need to ask your landlord for permission, as the equipment will not affect your electricity meter or your appliances in any way.

Does it matter which electricity company I pay my bills to?

No, all electricity companies have been notified that the project is going ahead, and households can take part no matter which company issues their electricity bills.

What will you do with the information?

The results will be used for research purposes only. The information we collect from you is strictly confidential and we operate under the rules of the Data Protection Act. You can ask to see your information at any time or to have it removed from our database.

The information you provide will be shared with project partners including the University of Southampton, DNV GL and Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution to allow them to analyse the results in conjunction with the electricity consumption information that will be gathered by the electricity monitoring equipment. However, your personal details will be kept strictly confidential and you and your household will not be identifiable in any project results.

At the end of the project the responses to the survey and the linked electricity monitoring data will be placed in the UK Academic Data Archive for future academic research purposes. Your personal information including your name, address and contact details or any other information that may identify you will not be part of this archive, and will be deleted once the project is complete.

Who is funding the project?

The study is being funded through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund.

Ofgem regulates the electricity and gas markets in Great Britain.

Who is responsible for the study?

There are several organisations involved in the study, which is being led by Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) and the University of Southampton.

Can I change my mind once the project has started?

You can choose not to continue in the study at any time by visiting us at the project website, by email or by calling BMG’s helpline number:

  • Website: bmgresearch.co.uk/projects/energyuse
  • By email on: energy@bmgresearch.co.uk.
  • Or by telephone on: 0800 358 0337 (office hours)

How do I find out more about the study?

If you’d like more information on the study, or have a particular question that is not answered within these FAQ, please contact Stacey Hughes, the Associate Director at BMG Research responsible for the project, using the following contact details:

  • Email: stacey.hughes@bmgresearch.co.uk
  • Telephone: 0121 333 6006 (office hours 9am – 5pm)