Helping citizens take control of their energy usage

With energy prices rising and millions of UK households set to pay around £700 a year more for their electricity and gas –  a Bristol project is helping citizens take control of their usage.

There are now 12 homes mainly in the south of the city who have eagerly signed up to be part of TwinERGY – an EU- funded project which aims to “put citizens at the heart of the energy market.”

The Bristol pilot is being run by a partnership of the city council, Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) and University of Bristol – working with local residents who are key to the success of the research.

Most of the households taking part already have solar panels through other projects such as SoLa Bristol and the council’s Bright Green Homes – and are now having batteries fitted in their homes to help them store the energy generated.

They will also be given an Equiwatt to help with their energy saving – and smart plugs so they can see the usage of key appliances such as the television or the kettle – and they have all been presented with iPads to view their data.

Knowledge is power

Knowledge is power – and it means the householders will be able to see where they’re losing money such as leaving things on standby and which times of day they use the most energy.

Many of them have never been part of an energy project before and their motivations are not only to save money – although a percentage are on pre-paid meters and paying more for their energy – but helping the environment is also a key factor and being less reliant on fossil fuels.

Danielle shows how much energy her solar panels are generating.
“…It’s good to know what I’m generating myself and how I can make more savings.”

The participants range from families with young children to pensioners and are from diverse backgrounds. Some are already savvy and keep their costs low, while others busy with life haven’t had time to look at where their money is going and how they could make savings.

Participant Clive (left) with Sam from University of Bristol looking at his energy readings.

Meeting the householders and chatting to them about their bills and appliances is a key part of the project. Energy doesn’t have to be a dull subject – and there is a definite air of excitement among those taking part.

“I’m doing it for my children and their future,” says one and another, “With the rising cost of living I need to be able to save as much as I can now – and it’s good to know what I’m generating myself and how I can make more savings.”

We’ll be following the residents on their energy-saving journey during the next year – and finding out from them what they’ve learned through being part of TwinERGY – and what they can teach us.

For more information about the project follow our regular updates or visit