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Trial set to give power to the people

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/09/2016 Edwin Mitson

Power distributor Vector has signed a deal with West Australian energy company Power Ledger to use its peer-to-peer platform to enable people and business to buy or sell surplus electricity to each other.

The system enables an individual who has solar power or batteries to sell any surplus energy they generate to someone else, bypassing the traditional electricity retailer.

A trial is to get under way in December this year involving 500 sites in New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland. Schools, community groups, and households will be involved, Vector said in a statement.

Chief Executive Simon MacKenzie said the new system would empower consumers "to better manage and profit from their energy supply and demand."

Power Ledger is a Perth-based start-up and uses the Blockchain software that underpins the digital currency, Bitcoin, in order to identify who has generated the energy and therefore who owns it.

An eight-week trial involving 10 households in Busselton, south of Perth got underway this month, with talks underway on a more advanced trial in the city to follow next year.

The company's co-founder, Jemma Green said the technology would "enable the safe, sustainable and sensible trading of energy between producers and consumers."

Households with solar panels currently sell surplus energy back to the grid, although last month the Electricity Authority ruled that electricity company Unison had not broken the rules when it raised lines charges for homes who had installed a solar panel system.

In April, lines company Eastland Group said it was considering doing the same.


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