Could AI hold the key to fuel poverty?

A new data software is being developed to identify fuel-poor households across London, the East and South East

The Big Zero report

Although most of the artificial intelligence (AI) applications may sound like the futuristic plot of a sci-fi movie, the technology might help the fight against the UK’s fuel poverty.

The country’s electricity distributor UK Power Networks (UKPN) is working with the Energy Systems Catapult to use data software to identify fuel-poor households across London, the East and South East.

The so-called ‘Social Connect’ project will combine existing fuel poverty insight with smart meter data provided by households and socio-economic statistics.

That is part of UKPN’s goal to help seven times more customers facing fuel poverty as it currently does – rising from 14,000 per year to 100,000.

Ian Cameron, Head of Customer Services and Innovation at UKPN, said: “The pandemic has caused extraordinary challenges and meant hundreds of thousands may enter fuel poverty.

“They might not think to come and ask us for help, and we can’t predict what future challenges might come our way, but what we can do is use new technology to deliver more targeted and higher quality support to those who need it most.”

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