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The public interest advisory group (PIAG) on access to smart-meter energy data for a public-interest purpose, convened by the two charities Sustainability First and the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), has brought together key stakeholders to consider how access to smart-meter data could better serve the wider public interest and major public policy goals.


The PIAG project grew out of the realisation that despite plans for smart-meters in every home and small business, there remained open questions as to how that data might also better inform public-policy and support the energy transition.

Phase 1 of the project, from November 2017 to June 2019, addressed the wider policy context for access to smart-meter data including consumer and privacy issues. It also looked at international experience and possible use-cases for the data. Drawing on established models, possible approaches were also identified for access to the data in secure fashion, suitably anonymised and aggregated, for statistical and public-interest research use.
Phase 2, from January 2020 to June 2021, then set out a practical vision as to how the public interest potential of smart-meter data could best be realised. Through a series of workshops, the project took a deep-dive into four major areas of energy policy likely to benefit from more accuracy and greater granularity of energy consumption-data : BEIS energy statistics, regulatory evaluations and decisions, local area energy plans and analysis of heat-use. For each of these four areas, we examined present data-inputs for energy-usage, available proxies, and the gaps a more joined-up approach to smart-meter data might fill. With this improved understanding of the ‘additionality’ that smart-meter data could bring to public policy, PIAG has proposed six major recommendations for government, Ofgem and other energy sector actors. These can be found in the final Phase 2 report

PIAG members include :

BEIS, Ofgem*, Citizens Advice, Energy Systems Catapult*, Data Communications Company*, Elexon*, Electralink*, Greater London Authority*, National Grid ESO*, Northern Power Grid*, UCL SERL (Smart Energy Research Lab)*, Climate Change Committee, CSE (Centre for Sustainable Energy), Energy Networks Association, Energy Saving Trust, Energy-UK, , MHCLG (Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government), National Infrastructure Commission, Office for National Statistics, Scottish Government, Smart Energy GB, Sustainability First, techUK, UKERC, Universities of Exeter, Reading, Edinburgh, CAR (Cambridge Architecture Research Ltd), Welsh Government, Which?

*Denotes funding partner (Phase 1 and / or Phase 2).

CSE is an independent national charity, established in 1979. Based in Bristol, we undertake practical work to support individuals, communities and organisations to take action on energy, alongside original research and analysis to inform local and national policy.

Sustainability First is a small environment think-tank, established in 2000, with a focus on practical policy development in the areas of sustainable energy, waste and water.



Workshop 1: National Energy Statistics

Workshop 2: Regulation

Workshop 3: Local & devolved government

Workshop 4: Heat



Workshop slides

PIAG Kick-off meeting slides - 30 November 2017
PIAG Workshop 1 slides - 19 March 2018
PIAG Workshop 2 slides - 18 July 2018
PIAG Workshop 3 slides - 20 November 2018
PIAG Workshop 4 slides - 4 April 2019

End of phase 1 report

PIAG End of Phase 1Report – 22 July 2019

Phase 1
Phase 2

Background papers

The papers below were jointly commissioned by Teddinet, Centre for Sustainable Energy and Sustainability First in Summer 2015. They consider how future household smart meter energy data might be deployed to serve the public interest. 

Dr Simon Elam - The National Perspective on Smart Meter Data & Public Interest Issues

Technical Annex - Existing data 

Dr Jessica Britton - The Sub-National Perspective on Smart Meter Data & Public Interest Issues 


Maxine Frerk
Associate, Sustainability First 
Simon Roberts
Chief Executive, Centre for Sustainable Energy 
Judith Ward
Associate, Sustainability First 
Nicky Hodges
Senior Researcher, Centre for Sustainable Energy 
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