Wadebridge residents can now sign up for 5p daytime electricity through the radical new ‘Sunshine Tariff’ – a first for the UK.

The Sunshine Tariff trial offers a low rate (5p per unit) during the day from 10am to 4pm between April and September 2016, and a higher rate (18p) at other times. Between now and the end of March 2016, there is a flat rate of 13.4p. Customers will get greater benefit from the lower rate the more they can shift their electricity usage into the daytime period.

At a formal launch event in the North Cornwall town of Wadebridge on 22nd January, attended by local MP Scott Mann, Cornwall Councillor Stephen Knightley and other residents of the town, Professor Stephen Frankel, chair of community energy group Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN), explained how WREN was collaborating with local network operator Western Power Distribution, innovative electricity supplier Tempus Energy and sustainable energy champions Regen SW to offer residents of the Wadebridge the chance to participate in the initiative and take advantage of its Sunshine Tariff.

Professor Frankel said: "The Sunshine Tariff is an innovative project designed to explore the potential of renewables and smart energy in bringing down the cost of electricity to consumers, offering a daytime rate in summer of only 5p per unit. On the basis of residents who have enquired so far, we have found estimated savings of up to 40% are possible, so long as people shift some of their electricity usage into the low cost period.”

The project is looking for 240 volunteer participants in Wadebridge to sign up for the Sunshine Tariff by the end of February, to give time to switch supplier and have smart meters installed. The data collected will enable the project team to discover how much domestic customers actually save in practice by changing their electricity usage patterns to take advantage of the low daytime rate.

Paul Jewell of Western Power Distribution said: “The Sunshine Tariff is an opportunity for the local community to use their greatest asset, the people within it, to change the way they use energy and help the transition towards a more efficient electricity network and a low carbon future”

Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen SW said: “This pioneering project in Wadebridge is an important step in moving to a radically different decentralised smart energy system. By enabling local people to match up their energy use with local energy generation we are putting communities in control of how they generate and use power, giving them greater control over bills and benefitting the local economy.”

Sara Bell, CEO and Founder of Tempus Energy, said "We are glad the six-month trial is already proving popular with Wadebridge residents. The Sunshine Tariff is an important step on the road to understanding how smart meters will revolutionise the electricity system. The cheaper price period is not only excellent for our customers, but great for us too. We want customers on the Sunshine Tariff to use their electricity when it's 5p instead of at 18p."

Scott Mann, MP, said: "It's great that Wadebridge is once again leading the way in energy generation and tariffs. The census data in 2011 showed that almost thirty percent of Wadebridge residents are over 65, with some of them living in fuel poverty. Having a tariff that is lower during the daytime will help many people who work from home, or who are retired. Although the sunshine tariff won't be suitable for everyone there will be many people who will benefit from this local energy initiative."

Funding for the project comes from the Network Innovation Allowance, administered by Western Power Distribution, which has seen the amount of renewable electricity generated in the Southwest increase hugely in the last few years. By matching demand and generation locally, the network can be utilised more efficiently and potentially allow the connection of more generation. Through the Sunshine Tariff, benefits of this are passed to consumers. While this particular project is restricted to Wadebridge, the benefits and what is learned can be applied throughout the country.

To get involved, visit: www.wren.uk.com/sunshine


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