The results of the project have been collated to provide general guidance on how Smart Grid initiatives should be designed in order to make them more attractive to consumers.
The guidance document is written in the form of ‘step-by-step’ approach to implementing Smart Grid related initiatives that involve energy behaviour change. The step-by-step approach, which is described in Table 1, has been designed to ensure that all elements of the energy behavioural model (shown in Figure 3) are addressed in the design of the Smart Grid initiative. The guidance is intended for
- Energy Suppliers, Distribution Network Operators and System Operators who are the main stakeholders responsible for the development of Smart Grids, and thus stand to directly benefit from the engagement of consumers. However, there are many aspects of the design of Smart Grid initiatives that can be directly influenced by other industry stakeholders. These include:
- Government and Energy Regulators who are responsible for setting policy, legislation and the rules defining the way the energy market operates. There are a number of specific areas where they can directly influence the way Smart Grid initiatives evolve.
- Third-party aggregators, who act as intermediaries between consumers and Smart Grid implementers. They have a pivotal role as facilitators, and co-ordinate between multiple Smart Grid implementers.
- Energy service companies, who help consumers manage their electricity consumption, and can design initiatives specifically to meet the needs of the consumers themselves.
- Technology developers / appliance manufacturers, who develop technical solutions that meet the needs of Smart Grid implementers, third party aggregators, energy service companies and the consumers themselves.
The guidance focusses specifically on the design of Smart Grid initiatives from the perspective of the consumers themselves.
The figure below provides a high level overview of the step by step approach.
If any one of the steps is omitted, there is a risk that the initiative will not deliver benefits to the energy system as a whole and/or will not be adopted by consumers.
The top five findings from Task 23 are:
- The impact of electricity markets on consumer engagement in Smart Grid activities is wide ranging and often poorly understood. There is rarely a one size fits all solution, with many elements of electricity markets representing both facilitators and barriers to participation.
- Very little information is currently available on customer attitudes and experiences towards Smart Grids. Most of the published data focusses on measuring outcomes, with little data available to help with understanding what works and for whom it works.
- Information collated from consumer surveys shows that consumers saythey want a financial reward in return for actively engaging in Smart Grids. However, evidence from trials shows that there are many reasons that lead to consumers not engaging in Smart Grids.
- Whilst significant progress has been made on the development of technologies, the market is not yet ‘ready’ to accept them. This is referred to as ‘crossing the chasm’ that exists between early adopters and the early majority.
Early adopters (see illustration) see new technology as a way to “beat the herd” and reap the advantages of the new technology/practice before it becomes common practice. The early majority, however, are hesitant to new technology, and choose to sit on the fence until it is proven.