Focus on electricity tariffs. Experience and exploration of different charging schemes

Panel: 8. Dynamics of consumption

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Authors:
Sarah Darby, ECI, Oxford - Environmental Change Institute, United Kingdom
Ioana Pisica, Brunel Institute of Power Systems
Brunel University
, United Kingdom

Abstract

There is a growing need to adjust demand to match supply in electrical networks (rather than vice versa, under the ‘predict and provide’ model). The move towards more dynamic pricing is part of the development of ‘active demand’, a way of discouraging usage when systems are under stress, and making renewable generation more viable. What is it realistic to expect from time-varying or capacity-related tariffs and associated methods of network management, including direct load control? Electricity tariffs are devised by experts but used by non-experts, and as yet we do not understand much about what different tariff types mean in terms of everyday practices. This paper analyses material from six focus groups carried out in the UK for the ADEPT project (Advanced Dynamic Electricity Pricing and Tariffs). Householders discussed the general principle of time-varying pricing, and considered six options including a static time-of-use tariff, critical day pricing, real-time pricing, and capacity charging/load-capping. The groups were chosen on the basis of being all-electric households, (1) prepayment customers (2), adopters of new technologies (solar PV, electric vehicles, heat pump) (3), customers with experience of a basic time-of-use tariff (4), and credit customers, with and without experience of switching supplier (5,6). The emphasis was on ‘workability’, and on the concepts and concerns associated with different tariffs. The responses offer insights into customers’ knowledge about usage and network operation. They indicate how various tariffs might work in relation to household routines, and they illustrate concerns about privacy, safety and control.

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