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New data that shows the electricity consumption and generation patterns of more than 12,000 UK customers has been published by the Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR).

Domestic and business customers were monitored over a two-year period to produce industry-leading research into current, emerging and possible future electricity load and generation patterns.

Thousands of the customers taking part in the project had smart meters which provide accurate information on electricity demand and generation activity every 30 minutes.

Many of the customers had solar panels, heat pumps and electric vehicle charging points, providing important new data on the impact of these new low-carbon loads on local electricity networks.

The CLNR project is also investigating whether customers can be more flexible with when and how they use energy, scheduling routine household tasks like laundry and cooking outside the 4-8pm period of peak demand for electricity, for example. If customers are willing to be flexible, it could provide a cost-effective way to manage future energy challenges.

The new datasets are available to download from the CLNR website’s project library and the learning is also being shared with all GB electricity network operators to help find cost-effective ways to support the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.

Preston Foster from Northern Powergrid, the distribution network operator leading the project, said: “These latest results from the CLNR project provide a comprehensive suite of up-to-date data relating to different electricity customer profiles in the UK.

“The emergence of new low-carbon loads has required network operators to re-evaluate the design and operation of our networks to ensure we can continue to provide a safe and secure supply of electricity.

“We also recognise that the way people consume energy is changing, with more people working from home, ever-changing household structures and the popularity of new entertainment and Internet enabled devices, such as PCs, laptops, tablets, games consoles and smart TVs.

“We’re exceptionally proud to make these results available to everyone and our intention is that this data will be used to help improve network efficiency and support the uptake of low carbon technologies without the need for large-scale upgrades to network infrastructure.”

The CLNR has also actively trialled new commercial arrangements and interventions with domestic and small business customers. The new data includes results from the project’s time of use tariff trials, where customers were incentivised to use electricity outside of the 4-8pm peak and automated schemes with solar PV owners.

The learning from these trials, together with qualitative research conducted by the University of Durham, is helping uncover the extent to which customers will accept new propositions for flexibility, including restricted hours tariffs to direct control.

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