Nav: Home

Study shows big smart meter investment yielded 'very small' electricity savings

May 31, 2017

Smart meters and time-of-use electricity pricing have only modestly reduced residential energy demand during the most expensive peak periods, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo compared data for nine months before and nine months after time-of-use rates were introduced in November 2011 by an unidentified distribution company with more than 20,000 household customers in southwestern Ontario.

Using advanced statistical tools to factor out the impact of weather differences, their analysis showed residential demand for electricity dropped just 2.6 per cent during on-peak periods and 2.4 per cent during mid-peak periods following the change.

"There is a gain, but the gain is very small," said Lukasz Golab, a management sciences professor and Canada Research Chair at Waterloo.

Smart meters to enable time-of-use pricing were installed by hydro utilities across Ontario at a cost of about $1 billion. A key goal was shifting demand away from peak periods to reduce maximum capacity requirements and save money on infrastructure.

The study did not attempt to assess if the cost of the switch to time-of-use pricing has been justified by modest changes in the behaviour of residential customers.

"Is it enough?" asked Catherine Rosenberg, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and also a Canada Research Chair at Waterloo. "Of that I'm not sure. We don't have the data to decide if these kinds of savings warrant the use of smart meters."

The findings also suggest that time parameters used to set rates may not be aligned properly with actual usage, at least for residential customers. The summer on-peak period on weekdays in Ontario is noon to 5 p.m., but demand actually hit its highest point at 6 p.m. in the utility used for the study.

The research, which also involved former master's student Reid Miller, was recently published in the journal Energy Policy.
-end-


University of Waterloo

Related Data Articles:

Discrimination, lack of diversity, & societal risks of data mining highlighted in big data
A special issue of Big Data presents a series of insightful articles that focus on Big Data and Social and Technical Trade-Offs.
Journal AAS publishes first data description paper: Data collection and sharing
AAS published its first data description paper on June 8, 2017.
73 percent of academics say access to research data helps them in their work; 34 percent do not publish their data
Combining results from bibliometric analyses, a global sample of researcher opinions and case-study interviews, a new report reveals that although the benefits of open research data are well known, in practice, confusion remains within the researcher community around when and how to share research data.
Designing new materials from 'small' data
A Northwestern and Los Alamos team developed a novel workflow combining machine learning and density functional theory calculations to create design guidelines for new materials that exhibit useful electronic properties, such as ferroelectricity and piezoelectricity.
Big data for the universe
Astronomers at Lomonosov Moscow State University in cooperation with their French colleagues and with the help of citizen scientists have released 'The Reference Catalog of galaxy SEDs,' which contains value-added information about 800,000 galaxies.
What to do with the data?
Rapid advances in computing constantly translate into new technologies in our everyday lives.
Why keep the raw data?
The increasingly popular subject of raw diffraction data deposition is examined in a Topical Review in IUCrJ.
Infrastructure data for everyone
How much electricity flows through the grid? When and where?
Finding patterns in corrupted data
A new 'robust' statistical method from MIT enables efficient model fitting with corrupted, high-dimensional data.
Big data for little creatures
A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at UC Riverside has received $3 million from the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship program to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers who will learn how to exploit the power of big data to understand insects.

Related Data Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".