1. Where can I find information about how to use the PowerShaper service?

If you would like to know more about the PowerShaper Flex trial, please get in touch by email: powershaper@carbon.coop, or the questions on this page may also be useful. For users already enrolled in the trial, there will be a series of webinars, feedback sessions and workshops to help you get the most from PowerShaper Flex.

2. How much will it cost to have the equipment installed?

All installation and equipment is provided for free, excluding battery systems which are provided at a discounted rate, as part of the PowerShaper demonstrator project.

3. How long does the installation take?

The installation is made up of 2 phases. First, our electrical contractor partners will visit and install the equipment. The time this takes varies depending on how much work is required. You will be contacted by the contractors directly to arrange this visit. This will be followed up by a visit from a Carbon Co-op technician to explain how everything works and to install the Home Energy Management System (HEMS). We aim to complete these visits in under an hour. The technician will also commission the equipment installed by the electrical contractors and test it is in full working order. This second visit should be scheduled to take place within 7-14 days of the installation.

4. How are Carbon Co-op taking measures to mitigate risk, in the context of Covid-19?

We operate a COVID Safe Working Policy based on guidance from the UK government and Health and Safety Executive. Our technicians will undertake a risk assessment prior to visiting your home and implement appropriate measures. Our policy and any risk assessment we complete in relation to visiting your home is available on request. Our partner electrical contractors operate their own procedures but we expect them to adhere to public health guidance.

5. Will the installation process be messy and disruptive?

You will need to prepare for some disruption during the process of the installation as would be expected during any work on your electrics. In some situations the electrical contractors may need to turn off the power to your home for a short period of time but they will warn you about this before it happens. You will also need to ensure you’re able to comply with the Covid-19 Risk Mitigation guidelines to ensure the safety of yourself, contractors, and our staff.

6. What equipment will be installed?

We install a HEMS (Home Energy Management System) in your home near the energy smart appliances that are going to be controlled. In addition to the HEMS, our Partner Contractors may need to install new energy smart appliances, such as an EV charger, unless you already have compatible appliances in which case only the HEMS would be required.

7. What is the Home Energy Management System?

The system is a tiny computer - currently a Raspberry Pi. This device is installed near a plug for power and preferably near to your internet router. If we cannot connect it near your internet router we may use a powerline adapter to take the connection back to your router. It connects to the internet using your internet connection but otherwise operates on a separate secure network. This is what the HEMS looks like, connected to a router:

8. How does the HEMS work?

When you plug the HEMS in, it creates a new secure wifi network called something like ‘ccoop-hems-XXXX.’ Carbon Co-op uses this secure wifi network to connect the energy smart appliances - for example the immersion switch, EV charger etc. We create a separate network for reasons of security to help ensure that no one else can access and interfere with your energy smart appliances. We also believe this is more reliable as it ensures that the weakest link in the chain of devices is at the end rather than in the middle. You can connect to this network if you want using the password provided during installation. This password is unique to your installation and secret.

9. How does my smart meter send information to Carbon Co-op?

Your smart meter communicates as normal with the national smart metering system. We access your smart meter through the national system rather than in your home. In order to allow us to access your meter you need to authorise this. For more information if you are a Member, or enrolled on PowerShaper as a non-member, please login to the Carbon Co-op hub Please note that as a Member you can also sign up separately for the Smart Meter Service , which enables you to access and visualise your energy usage.

10. Why do you need to switch my EV charger/immersion heater off at different times?

The grid, much like the road network, has a certain capacity. At certain times it becomes more congested, usually when everyone gets home from work in the evening and starts turning things on for cooking and heating. The grid operators who are responsible for the distribution of power to our homes have to ensure that supply and demand is balanced and no parts of the grid become overloaded. With the introduction of electric vehicles there is a lot of concern that parts of the grid may become overloaded and/or that supply will struggle at some times to meet demand (and even that demand will sometimes not be able to absorb all the supply from renewables). Our service is designed to help grid operators to make sure this doesn’t happen. So in a way you are helping to keep the grid up and running!

11. What if the time when you want to switch my EV charger/immersion heater off isn’t convenient and I need to use it?

You can always opt-out of any specific event through the dashboard. You will be given plenty of notice about when an event is happening and you will not be penalised for not participating. This is what our opt-out screen looks like:

12. How do I opt-out of participation in a PowerShaper Event?

To opt out of the PowerShaper event, you will simply need to log into the PowerShaper dashboard, and select opt out. All the appliances that we install also have a means to manually override the automatic control. This is either a button or a switch depending on what is installed.

13. How do I know the PowerShaper system is working?

You will receive email updates about the service after your equipment has been installed and then notifications (by whatever method you choose) when a PowerShaper event is going to happen which will switch on/ off your appliances. We will try to use data from your smart meter to verify that devices have been switched on/off. Otherwise we will verify this using data collected from the appliances themselves.

14. What do I do if the Power Shaper system doesn’t appear to be working, or a component doesn’t seem to function properly?

Get in contact with powershaper@carbon.coop and we will endeavour to fix the issue. Failing this, and if appropriate,we will arrange for a Carbon Co-op technician to visit you, at your convenience.

15. Where can I see information about my historic participation in events?

We provide reports for each event you participate in. You can view this by logging into the PowerShaper dashboard.

16. When will the notifications about future signal events be sent?

We will try to send these several days in advance of an event occurring.

17. Who is the contact person for when I need support?

Contact powershaper@carbon.coop or call.

18. What happens when the system has worked?

One of our goals is to operate the system in such a way that you do not even notice that it is doing anything. But if you want to check to see what has happened you can login to your account to see which events you participated in.

19. Do I get to keep the free EV charger component after the demonstrator is over?

Yes you can keep the EV charger. Or we can replace it with another one for free.

20. How can I stay involved with future aspects of the project and the PowerShaper service after the project ends?

If you want to continue to be part of the Power Shaper service beyond this initial project you don’t need to do anything. We will keep you on the system and let you know of future opportunities to participate.

21. When can I expect the de-installation to happen?

If you want the equipment removed at the end of the project we would expect this to be completed within 2 months.

22. What kind of input does Carbon Co-op need from me? For example will there be lots of paperwork?

You need to complete the enrolment process here which asks some questions about the types of appliances you have in your home. You will need to be able to complete a pre-installation phone-call, 24 hours prior to your appointment. A member of the Carbon Co-op team will make this call which consists of a short Covid-19 questionnaire. You will need to arrange access to your home for our partner electrical contractors and technicians on two occasions. In order to receive the second incentive voucher you need to complete a survey at the end of the project.

23. When and how will I receive my project participation payment?

You will receive a total of £300 incentive payments for your participation in the trial in the form of voucher and cash payments. The payments will be made throughout the course of the trial and participation in events and surveys will trigger incentive payments. You are guaranteed to receive the full payment by the end of the trial period which comes to completion in early 2023.

24. Do I need to switch Energy Supplier?

No, the Power Shaper service is supplier agnostic. It doesn’t matter where you get your power, only what we do with it! The only reason you might want to switch your supplier is if your current supplier cannot provide you with a working smart meter. We can still run the project without a Smart Meter present, however it is better for us (and you!) that you have one.

25. What data do you collect on me?

When you enrol we collect personal information about you and your home or we use data you have already provided as a member of Carbon Co-op. We collect this data for the purpose of being able to provide you the PowerShaper service and related services (such as the smart meter data service) and for evaluating the performance of the overall system. We also collect what is called ‘telemetry’ or monitoring data from the equipment that we install e.g. the HEMS. This data is pseudo-anonymised at the point of collection and is only used for the purpose of ensuring the system is working properly and for evaluating the performance and efficacy of the overall PowerShaper system. It is possible we would also want to use this data for research or promotional purposes but we would always seek your explicit consent before doing this. All personal information is processed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the service, our privacy policy, and relevant legislation. Read our full privacy policy.

26. How much power/electricity does the equipment use?

The HEMS is essentially a Raspberry Pi 3. When idle (which it will be most of the time) it consumes around 2W and when under heavy load it uses around 5W. In a year we estimate it would use around 20kWh or £3 of electricity at current prices. About the same as a small LED bulb. The other equipment we install has even lower standby power, too little to worry about! However, if you have any concerns about big increases in electricity use please inform us immediately as it could be indication of a fault with the equipment.

27. When you refer to a smart enabled charger does this mean that you are supplying a complete EV charger or just a means of switching one on or off?

This refers to a complete EV charger.

28. Will you be providing electrical certification for any works that you do?

All contractors that Carbon Co-op partner with are accredited electrical professionals and should provide you with appropriate certification.

29. Will the EV charger be rated to 7kW?

Yes, the charger is rated to provide up to 7kW on single-phase or up to 21kW on three-phase.

30. How is the flexibility baseline calculated?

The baseline value for each half hour is calculated by:

- Taking your usage for the previous three weeks
- Selecting only the weekdays or weekends - depending on when the event is
- Selecting the usage in the same 30 minute period on each of those days
- Taking the average of those values

31. Can I take part in other flexibility services alongside PowerShaper Flex?

Our service is currently in a trial phase, which means that we will not be submitting flexibility data to National Grid ESO, and therefore there is no risk of ‘double counting’ conflicting with outher flexibility services. Where possible we will seek to align our trial and flexibility events with the requirements of the grid so that users are able to benefit from these sessions as much as possible. We hope that our HEMS will support users taking full advantage of these sessions by allowing for greater levels of control over energy smart appliances.

Where an alternate flexibility scheme requires direct control of one of more of your appliances which is under the control of the PowerShaper Flex service (for example, your electric vehicle charger, or immersion heater), it will not be possible for you to participate in both schemes. We hope that our trial will present some unique benefits, including a focus on local control, privacy and the reduction of home carbon emissions.

if you are taking part in an alternate flexibility scheme or intend to, we would be very interested to hear from you directly, please get in touch!