London, 9th February 2017 - OVO today announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of US energy technology company, VCharge. Headquartered near Boston, VCharge has developed a proprietary technology platform that changes how electric grids are controlled in preparation for the rapid transition to renewable energy and energy storage, helping to solve the problem of renewables intermittency.
The groundbreaking technology uses advanced algorithms to balance grid requirements with individual user requirements. The first application of the pioneering technology controls electric storage heating in social housing to better manage resident comfort and to address the issue of fuel poverty in local communities, while simultaneously supporting the widespread adoption of renewable energy by providing valuable grid balancing services.
VCharge heating controls are fitted to new or existing electric storage heaters and can be controlled via a smartphone. When coupled with a new smart tariff, residents experience dramatically improved comfort, lower bills and have control over their heating systems for the first time.
VCharge has completed a number of successful trials of the technology over the last year with major social housing landlords in London, Scotland and the North East, and, with OVO, will begin offering heating control upgrades combined with a new smart energy tariff to the 1.5m households in Great Britain with electric storage heaters later this year.
The acquisition, the first in OVO’s seven year history, underlines the company’s focus on developing future-facing solutions that harness the disruptive power of technology to solve the problems facing the energy industry for the benefit of its customers.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of OVO, said:
“I’m thrilled to bring VCharge into the OVO family. The team have been doing incredibly exciting and important work in developing technologies that answer the enormous challenge of how to bring more renewable energy to grids around the world. We believe this platform will harness the potential of energy storage in reducing dependency on fossil fuels, while helping to make energy more affordable for all.”
Toby Ferenczi, Managing Director, VCharge, said:
"VCharge's vision is to help electricity grids around the world with the transition to becoming 100% renewable, as the cost of renewable energy becomes more competitive with that of unsustainable fossil fuels. Joining forces with OVO will dramatically accelerate how quickly we can achieve this goal, and will also enable us to address other important issues such as alleviating fuel poverty in the UK."
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OVO was founded in 2009 with a clear and simple vision - to create the world’s most trusted energy company. A couple of friends sat around a kitchen table listed what they wanted from their energy supplier, but weren’t getting. Things like fair pricing. Great service. Clear and simple information. Technology to make managing energy easier. And above all, honesty and transparency.
Seven years later, OVO now has nearly 700,000 customers and is still working to make energy as effortless, simple and as good value for customers as possible.
Founded in 2009, VCharge is a leading player in energy markets and smart grid technologies. The company provides balancing and stabilisation services to grid operators and other electricity market participants by controlling electrical loads coupled to energy storage.
VCharge has developed projects on six electric grids in five countries. The company has also built and operates the world's largest aggregated residential “virtual battery” delivering ancillary services comprised of thousands of electric thermal storage heaters for the PJM Interconnection grid operator in the US. This virtual battery provides balancing services to the grid at a 1/30th of the cost of a comparable lithium-ion battery.