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Policy briefing: Smart appliances

13 July 2015

Smart appliances are appliances which can connect to other devices and networks. If connected to power networks, they could adapt their energy consumption in response to external signals.

This could help balance energy demand and supply, and help shave peaks in demand, in turn reducing network infrastructure and power generation costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

There are three potential categories of appliances: 

  • high flexibility with few comfort or performance impacts: dishwashers, washing machines, washer dryers, water heaters, radiators, boilers, heat pumps, air conditioners and battery storage systems.
  • smaller potential for flexibility and/or larger comfort impacts: tumble dryers, refrigerators, freezers, extraction fans, heat recovery ventilation and chargers.
  • only emergency flexibility potential: electrical hobs and ovens, hoods, vacuum cleaners and lighting.

The Energy Union Framework Strategy sets out a chicken and egg situation, with the wish 'that flexible energy use is rewarded' but the recognition this will 'only work if market prices send the right signals'. The European Commission is considering aspects that affect the development of this market. 

However, Citizens Advice has some concerns about the development of the market, which are outlined in the above policy briefing.