Consumer Energy Use Behaviour (Low Carbon London)

Dates: January 2011 – December 2014

Funder: Ofgem Low Carbon Network

Researcher: Dr Ritsuko Ozaki

Changing domestic energy use behaviour has a potential for energy conservation and carbon reduction, as residents’ behaviour contributes much to energy consumption in the home. However, many people do not know how much energy is used in their specific behaviours and how much it costs, or how they can save money. How to engage consumers in low-carbon practices is, therefore, a challenge. In this context, this project explores challenges and opportunities associated with consumer behaviour and understands the potential impacts on distribution network operation and design.

This project uses UK Power Network’s ‘live’ project that has deployed Smart Meters to 5500 households in London’s Low Carbon Zones, 1100 of which have opted in for dynamic time-of-use tariffs. The project explores consumer behaviour in energy use and the way energy suppliers engage with their customers. We:

  1. investigate how householders understand their own energy use patterns (time of day) and levels (actual usage) and how this knowledge can help change their behaviours, and
  2. explore how flexible they can be in terms of patterns of energy consumption (e.g. the way in which they use their domestic electric appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers) with dynamic TOUs.

The study uses a questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews with residents with Smart Meters and TOU. We will derive lessons for the industry as to how to engage with consumers in the introduction of TOU tariffs and other energy efficient measures such as smart appliances.

The Low Carbon London project is a collaboration with UK Power Networks (formerly EDF Energy Networks), EDF Energy and the Control and Power Research Group of the Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering, and is funded by Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks funding.