Influencing residential electricity consumption with tailored messages: long-term usage patterns and effects on user experience
SPRINGER LINK, Energy, Sustainability and Society 13, Article number:15 (2023)
a AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Center for Technology Experience, Giefinggasse 2, 1210, Vienna, Austria
b CIMNE International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering, C/Pere de Cabrera 16, 25002, Lleida, Spain
To transition our energy system toward sustainable production and consumption, it is important to successfully engage consumers to become active participants in this process. One form this can take is manual demand response, where end users respond to fluctuations in energy production and help balance the grid through adjustment of their consumption. This paper presents a trial of such a system that took place with tenants in subsidized housing in Catalonia, Spain. The aim of the trial was to motivate the load shifting behavior of the participants by forecasting expected consumption curves and tailoring suggestions for optimized behavior. The forecasts and suggestions were based on the users’ past consumption patterns and the hourly day-ahead electricity prices. This information was made available to the users on a web-based platform, and participants were actively informed with text messages sent to their mobile phones in case of attractive saving potentials for the following day. The trial was carried out in 2 phases from November 2019 to May 2020 (Phase 1) and from August to October 2020 (Phase 2). Data were collected on interaction with the platform, the perceived user experience of the platform and text messages, and the perceived energy saving success.
Our results showed that there is a general interest of the participants in the concept, but that there are also important barriers to integrating load shifting behavior into everyday life. The biggest barriers here are limitations in the flexibility potential of households and limited perceived benefits. Feedback from our participants also suggests high acceptance and relevance of more automated demand-side management (DSM) concepts.
Based on this, we recommend paying special attention to the accommodation of varying flexibility potential in manual demand response (DR) programs, ensuring that communicated benefits are sufficiently attractive to motivate behavior change, and consideration of a phase of manual DR as an entry point to automated DSM.