13 December 2012

Understanding electric utility customers

Be the first to share

A few weeks back, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) issued “Understanding Electric Utility Customers—Summary Report: What We Know and What We Need to Know.

One simple statement and the rest of this column is digression: there’s a lot we don’t know about how customers use electricity, what affects their behavior and how to scale up programs that will attract widespread participation. And utilities haven’t exactly knocked themselves out trying to find out what we don’t know.

How customers use and value electricity has been a subject of study and debate for many decades. A better understanding of how customers use electricity could help the industry find ways to improve energy efficiency. In addition, our ability to encourage more efficient consumption through feedback, control technology, and dynamic pricing is better and less costly than it has ever been due to technology advancements.

Despite decades of research into how customers use and value electricity, fundamental questions remain unanswered. This report summarizes the results of an 18-month effort to systematically review the research that has been done to characterize how customers use and value electricity, concentrating on large field trials that have been completed in the past decade or so. The results are summarized by market sector (residential, commercial, and industrial) and by type of behavioral intervention (pricing, feedback and control technology).

Because most of these programs are only offered on a voluntary basis, we further assess what is known about participation (who decides to participate), performance (how customers respond once they are on the program), and persistence (how participation and performance change over time). The state of knowledge is assessed using readiness scoring criteria, which indicate the extent to which knowledge barriers exist that make it difficult to determine the impacts such programs might have, if a given utility were to implement them on a large-scale. Research priorities are also identified to suggest where collaborative research could help resolve major uncertainties.

The detailed results are contained in two reports which synthesize what we know – and what we need to know – about how customers respond to dynamic pricing, feedback and control technology.

Phil Carson of the Intelligent Utility Daily has posted a helpful review of the study.

Be the first to share
30 March 2015
MIT Technology Review special report on persuasive technology
The MIT Technology Review has just published a special business report on persuasive technology, i.e. how technologies from smartphones to social media are used to influence our tastes, behavior, and even habits. Free registration is …
26 March 2015
Gov.uk’s open policy making toolkit – practical guidance on ethnography and more
The Gov.uk open policy making toolkit is a practical guide to techniques that can help you make better policy. The toolkit, which brings together the latest techniques to improve making and delivering policy, is based on …
7 March 2015
Why most customer experience efforts fail
It is no secret among Customer Experience (CX) professionals that most CX efforts fall flat. Forrester found that only 25% of CX professionals say their companies’ CX programs actually improve customer experience, and Avaya recently …
2 March 2015
Human-centered design should be a CMO’s best friend
The average tenure of a CMO is just 45 months, according to a recent study released by executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart. Fortunately, for CMOs in need of help, there's an elegant and simplistic process called …
1 March 2015
Italian bank offers user-friendly home security kit
The Smart Care unit of the insurance arm of the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo has just launched an innovative home security offering. Branded "ACasaConMe" [AtHomeWithMe], the service combines a personalized insurance package and a security kit …
28 February 2015
Open Policy Making: A people-centred approach to transform UK local services
Open Policy Making is about recognising that top down thinking and decision making no longer can deliver the range of services that people and communities have come to expect in a connected society, writes William …
31 January 2015
Internet psychologists study how the Web affects us
​In a pretty short period of time, the internet has changed how we take care of our basic needs, stand up for ourselves, and talk to each other. But psychologists are still debating how much …
19 January 2015
The agency is dead. Long live the agency.
The traditional agency model is physically more than alive on a small scale, but mentally has been stagnating, writes Tobias van Schneider, Product Design Lead at Spotify NYC: Agencies are now tasked to find their own voice, …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

See all articles