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Time of Use Tariffs

Our time of use tariff trials sought to establish whether small and medium enterprise (SME) customers could be encouraged or incentivised to be more flexible with how and when they used electricity.

What we wanted to find out

We wanted to understand to what extent customers are willing and able to be flexible their electricity usage. Customers taking part in this trial were offered new tariffs which incentivised them to use electricity out of peak. Social scientists from the University of Durham conducted a comprehensive study of trial participants energy practices and behaviours and compared the qualitative learning to the quantitive data collected, generating an important new body of research.

What we learned

To date, there has been little research into how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) contribute to network load or their ability to flex their electricity usage; this project generated important new data, learning and insights into SMEs energy practices. Specifically, through our time of use trials we have been able to conclude;

  • Significant numbers of SMEs expressed interest in the concept of a time of use tariff during the customer recruitment phase. However, it quickly became clear that SME owners were unwilling to flex their electricity use and risk disrupting their business activities.
  • The industry will need to look at developing new, potentially bespoke, methods in order to engage with this particular customer group.

For a summary of findings from our trials with domestic and SME customers, please visit our conclusions page. Some of the key learning documents from our time of use tariff trials are listed below; further analysis and project outputs can be accessed using the advanced search function on our project library.


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