North East Venture Fund

App that helps manage peak energy demand raises £300k

equiwatt, a Gateshead company whose app helps the UK manage electricity demand by encouraging householders to switch off appliances at peak times, has raised an additional £300,000.

The funding, which will create four new jobs, is from the North East Venture Fund (NEVF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia Ventures.

It comes as equiwatt is set to take part in the National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) for a second winter as a certified partner of National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) Ltd.

Householders using equiwatt’s app receive notifications to turn off or avoid using appliances during ‘peak events’ which typically last up to an hour. In return they receive points which they can redeem for retail vouchers or charity donations.

Over the past three years, equiwatt has run its own ‘equivents’ for its app users as well as taking part in the National Grid’s DFS events last winter, which were used to manage energy resources in peak periods to avoid using carbon-emitting power stations for additional electricity generation.

equiwatt’s mobile app was launched in 2020 by Dr Johnson Fernandes. The company currently employs nine staff and has thousands of households registered

The latest funding round is the third from the NEVF and Mercia and brings the total raised by the company to more than £2m, which includes around £800,000 in grants.

Dr Johnson Fernandes, CEO of equiwatt, said: “We continue to receive a positive reaction to our app as consumers look closely at their energy usage from both a financial and environmental perspective.  Energy flexibility and proactive demand side energy management have become essential components of UK power generation and we see equiwatt and our platform as a key part of the country’s energy generation and usage.

“This latest round of funding will further assist with our scale up plans to secure more users of the app, through direct and partnership sign ups. It will also help us continue to enhance our technology platform to support the creation of a network of connected users to form a virtual power plant. This will help the National Grid to make the most of households ever growing smart meter network and accelerate the transition to a sustainable and secure energy network.”

Chris McCourt from Mercia added: “equiwatt’s easy-to-use app has won strong support from within the industry. Mercia and the NEVF have supported the company from the start. The initial funding enabled it to create and launch its app while the latest round will help it to expand its user base and continue its growth journey.”