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Document Number CLNR-L052

Date Posted 30-Apr 2014

Social science report 3


This report provides a synopsis of the research findings produced by the social science team at Durham University, in collaboration with the engineering research teams at Durham and Newcastle Universities. The electricity data used for the analysis in this paper are provisional data and as a result this should not be considered a final report.

Social scientists at the University of Durham have conducted 1,250 residential and 150 SME online surveys and a further 250 in-home domestic customer interviews. By overlaying this qualitative research with interim quantitative data collected through our monitoring trials, the report provides invaluable learning of how consumers are using electricity.

The report examines how energy use has changed and could continue to do so in future due to the uptake of low carbon technologies and changes in lifestyles. It gives insight into emerging trends in energy consumption and the practices associated with low carbon technologies including solar PV, and heat pumps and the effects of smart meters, in-home displays and Time of Use (ToU) tariffs, both in conjunction with these technologies and independently

Light is also shed on the effectiveness of time of use ToU tariffs in shifting energy use to outside the peak hours and how smart meters and in-home displays have been received by customers. The flexibility of consumers’ energy use, in terms of household chores, laundry and dining and cooking practices has also been explored.

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