Shifting Household Activities at Peak Demand

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Ritsuko OZAKI, Business School, Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom
In order to supply electricity, demand of which varies daily and seasonally, generation capacity must be able to meet peak demand. To avoid potential shortages it is useful to identify households who would be willing to ‘shift’ their energy-intensive activities so as not to use electricity at peak times (Strbac, 2008). This paper reports on the findings of a ‘dynamic’ time-of-use tariffs trial conducted in London, UK, and explores how householders responded to dynamic tariffs. Unlike ‘static’ time-of-use tariffs, which are regular and predictable, dynamic time-of-use tariffs are irregular and unpredictable, because they are based on renewable energy, such as wind power, and tariffs change according to the availability of electricity from the renewable source. A recent study of time-of-use tariffs found that people dislike the unpredictability of tariffs and that dynamic tariffs are the least popular option for consumers unless an automation feature is added (Fell et al. 2015). Similarly, research has identified a number of issues that limit people’s abilities to change their routines in the household. For instance, certain domestic appliances cannot be discarded no matter how they are ‘greedy’, and life is for living and the use of certain appliances or household activities are necessity. There are temporal rhythms of the household. Also, family negotiate about electricity consumption with possible disputes and conflicts among household members (Hargreaves et al., 2010). So, how our trial participants felt about dynamic tariffs? How did they respond to price changes? We found some trial participants enjoyed the dynamic tariff and changed their routines. In this light, this paper investigates: to what extent people shift their daily and weekly routines to go along with the tariffs; how environmentally sustainable practices can be incorporated into people’s everyday lives; and how sociocultural shifts towards more sustainable ways of living can be created.