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.

Outreach

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.

People

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!