Data Driven Demand Insights

Meter set out to explore the relationship between household activity patterns and electricity use. Which activities result in high peak demand? When people try to reduce electricity use, which activities are sacrificed or delayed, which ones are persistent? When we intervene in household activities (think lockdown or working-from-home), how does that affect other activities and electricity profiles?

Meter findings will help to devise new approaches to demand side flexibility and (importantly) consider the importance of people in their implementation.

Key insights

  • Hot evening meals are the single strongest predictor of peak demand in households
  • Trial households reduced peak demand by 14.5% without financial incentive
  • Flexible activities include laundry and even hot meals
  • Collective peak demand can be reduced by over 70% with aggregation of diverse loads from fewer than 50 households
  • Societal interventions, such as lockdown or changes to working arrangements, have a greater impact on load patterns than variable tariffs
  • Load data must be made more accessible to their rightful owners (the user) to enable innovative business models and consensual learning

Interactive power profiler

Explore the electricity use patterns of UK households. Which has the greater impact on demand: children or dogs?

Data Archive

Over 20,000 activity records have been collected. Meter data is available for research purposes from the UK Data Archive.

Research tools

Scalable and automated data solutions have been developed for activity and electricity recording. Our JoyMeter app is open source and freely available. Two different types of electricity recorder have been created especially for Meter: the 1 second resolution clip on recorder for UK households and the optical sensor version for use in Germany. Our U.S. partners used directly accessible smart meter data. We hope to do the same here in the UK some day soon.


We have taken our findings to OfGEM, BEIS, National Grid, Siemens, SMEs, schools, community events, national and international conference. We held seminars at Imperial, UEA, UCL, Reading, Loughborough, Manchester, Lancaster, Exeter and Sussex.


A massive thank you to all the supporters, collaborators and interns, not to mention the countless participants who made Meter possible.

A special thanks to Marina and our visitors: Adriano, Jessica, Hamish, Felix, Anna, Theresa and Anosh; doctoral students: Aven, Jose and Miriam; colleagues: Davide, Saher, Russell; collaborators: Hilary, June, Chad, Marvin, Jens, Andreas, Marcus and the wonderful late Simon, who was an incredible source of support - we will miss you!

Let's make energy work for us

The METER study seeks to understand our uses and enjoyment of electricity. The recent lockdown measures have affected many aspects of energy use. Your participation can help us to learn from these changes. You can support this research by recording your everyday activities.

Why it matters

What happens next

1) Survey

The button above takes you to a survey with some general questions about your household.


2) Get the JoyMeter app

Download the JoyMeter app to record activities

activity recorder

3) Record your activities


To record having a cup of tea, you select: Home - Food/Drink - Hot drink. Simple.

A few tips

1) We recommend you stick with it for one day - more is always welcome, but don't let it be a burden

2) You can report as much or as little as you like. Aim to report about 25 activities, including meals, travel and housework

3) It is much harder to record retrospectively. Best to do it at the time.

4) Don't worry whether it is a typical day - every day counts

Using the app

Under MENU, please register for the study. It's quick and helps us analyse your data.

Play around to find out where things are. You can always go BACK or HOME

To make changes to an activity, tap it, then rename it or change the time.

Optionally, the end of an activity can be recorded with "END"

If you feel an activity is missing, create your own.
My custom List - Create new - write your own (e.g. Knitting) - and assign it to a custom button for future use

customise the activities to your liking