Pioneering Southampton project wins industry award

The Solent Achieving Value from Efficiency (SAVE) project, led by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), has been named the ‘Stakeholder Engagement Initiative of the Year’ in the inaugural Network Awards 2019 in Birmingham.

The SAVE project, which has run over a five-year period, involved 4,000 Solent homes, and was led by SSEN and a range of partners including University of Southampton, Neighbourhood Economics, Future Solent, and DNV GL. 

The innovative test and control trial regime enabled SSEN to identify a blueprint for building closer relationships with customers and local stakeholder organisations, who were then empowered to better control their electricity consumption and, in turn, unlock financial and social benefits, as well as reducing their carbon footprint.

Colin Nicol, Managing Director of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, said: “We are delighted to pick up this Network Award that recognises our progress in exploring innovation to support a smarter, flexible energy system.

“A large part of the success of these initiatives is down to the hard work of the people involved. I’d like to thank all nominated teams for their commitment in bringing these innovative and important projects to fruition and I hope they now take every pride in their achievement.”

Councillor Jackie Porter, who represents areas including Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council, said of the SAVE project: “Thanks to the SAVE Project and the work of Connecting Kings Worthy, of the 33 areas I represent, Kings Worthy is the only area where issues of energy are visible and people are happy to engage in conversations around energy efficiency, peak demand and associated wider environmental issues.

“One of the positive impacts of SAVE has been the reinstatement of the walking bus, which now operates five days a week, and the fact that there are now up to 200 children playing on the school fields before school each day.”

Jenny Elliott, the Minister for Shirley Warren Action Church and Chair of Shirley Warren Working Together, added: “The SAVE Project has totally transformed Shirley Warren. It has been the catalyst for action – bringing together local people to deliver positive change in their own community as well as achieve reductions in peak demand; a real win win.  We’re so glad we got involved.”

The learning from this project is already being applied to SSENs, new Social Constraint Managed Zone (SCMZ) initiative in a number of locations across its distribution network areas. This unlocks opportunities for community groups to both save, and potentially earn money, through supporting a flexible and smarter electricity network.  

The largest innovation project currently being carried out by SSEN, SAVE has now finished its final trials with full reporting on its research and findings being publicised in June 2019.