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Empowering customers to save energy by informative billing (EMPOWERING)

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Programmes aimed at improving end-use energy efficiency are a keystone in the market strategies of leading DSOs and energy retail companies and are increasing in application, soon expected to become a mainstream practice. Informative services based on electricity meter data collected for billing are powerful tools for energy savings in scale and increase customer engagement with the energy suppliers enabling the deployment of demand response programmes helping to optimise distribution grid operation. These services are completely in line with Europe’s 2020 strategy for overall energy performance improvement (cf. directives 2006/32/EC, 2009/72/EC, 2012/27/EU).  The IEE project EMPOWERING involves 4 European utilities and an international team of university researchers, social scientists and energy experts for developing and providing insight based services and online tools for 344.000 customers in Austria, France, Italy and Spain. The project adopts a systematic iterative approach of service development based on envisaging the utilities’, customers’ and legal requirements, and incorporates the feedback from testing in the design process.  The technological solution developed by the lead partner CIMNE in close collaboration with the utilities is a scalable open source Big Data Analytics System coupled with the DSO’s information systems under high security and privacy standard and delivering a range of value adding services for the customer.


Within the Intelligent Energy Europe project EMPOWERING, a range of insight based services and software tools for the utility companies’ customers were developed and implemented, such as:
  • comparison with similar households
  • indications of performance improvements over time
  • consumption-weather dependence
  • detailed consumption visualisation and breakdown
  • personalised energy saving tips
  • alerts (high consumption, high bill, extreme temperature, etc.)
The main challenge is to help the customers to identify the relation among their behaviour and the energy consumed, in order to make them better understand the actions they can carry out to reduce their energy consumptions. The services target energy savings and increased customer satisfaction on a basis of detailed information bringing mutual benefit, trust and loyalty.EMPOWERING starts over current state-of-the-art and is inherently suited for the European market due to its flexible and adaptable solution concept capable to address different requirements arising from dissimilar national legislation and utility-specific technical requirements, without major implementation effort. The delivered services involve 344.000 customers and after the initial phase of developing and testing have been deployed to an experimental group of 272.000 customers to run during one year of pilot operation until October 2015, maintaining a control group of 72.000 customers for evaluation of results. The project pretends considerable impact and the meeting of a number of quantitative performance indicators such as energy savings ranging from 4-8% on average for customers with conventional and smart meters, and 15-20% increase in customer satisfaction evaluated in comparison to the control group. The strategic objective towards year 2020 is the achievement to deliver the EMPOWERING services to 2.5% of the electric and gas market in the participating countries. All findings were/are compiled in guidelines and recommendations for the stakeholder sof the energy market and policy makers.

Lessons learned

  1. Lesson 1: In order to communicate effectively, the information (services) should be adapted to the social, cultural and educational background of the end-users. Involving user feedback during the design phase has proved to be successful.
  2. Lesson 2: The regulation & legislation is diverse among EU member states, and requires that privacy considerations should be adopted by the "privacy-by-design" principles during the concept phase.
  3. Lesson 3: The use of standard, open API has been one of the keys for the successful integration of the EMPOWERING system.
  4. Lesson 4: The achievement of the widespread use of the developed EMPOWERING services requires tailored-made information and dissemination campaigns towards the end-users.
  5. Lesson 5: The workshops and seminars involving other energy utilities have proved to be effective for encouraging them to implement the developed EMPOWERING services.

Partners and coordinator

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International Centre for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Contact point: 
Stoyan Danov
+34 93 739 85 75


In brief

01/04/2013 to 30/09/2015
Contract number: 

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