UK trial shows customers do want time-of-use rates


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: Many North American regulators are afraid to switch to time-of-use (TOU) rates. They fear customer backlash and they fear being seen as unfair to low-income populations. Yet early results from a trial in the United Kingdom shows customers there prefer TOU. They are happy to shift their usage to off-peak times to save money on their bills.


Shouldn't we be using time-of-use rates more often in North America? I think so. Use the Comment form to agree or disagree. - By Jesse Berst


The UK's largest smart grid project has completed the first stage of its research, part of ongoing trials with 14,000 customers. Dr Liz Sidebotham, Communications Manager for the Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR) project, told Solar Novus Today that there is "a great demand from domestic users for time-of-use tariffs." In fact, the program was oversubscribed. What's more, those customers showed they were willing to change their energy usage habits to adapt to the new pricing.


Led by Northern Powergrid along with British Gas, EA Technology and Durham University, CLNR will continue to study electricity consumption patterns and reaction to new smart grid technologies throughout 2013.


Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.


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