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Household Electricity Survey

CAR has won a major contract to re-analyse data from the largest survey of household electricity use ever carried out in the UK. We are helping DECC and DEFRA to understand the data so we can bring in policies to keep the country’s lights on.

The Household Electricity Use Survey monitored 250 owner-occupier households across England from 2010 to 2011. The monitoring was very detailed and generated 20 million data points. This data offers an unparalleled source of two-minute electricity profiles for households and individual appliances. 

We are working with Element Energy and Loughborough University to understand the scope for demand shifting, baseload electricity demand, changes in the size and efficiency of appliances, and how different socio-economic groups and ages use electricity. We are also mining the data to help draft the National Monitoring Strategy using smart meters.

The opportunity to glean more from this data could hardly be more timely. We are at a critical juncture in planning electricity generation, where the UK must invest £110bn in energy infrastructure – partly to replace the power stations built in the 1960s and 70s, now reaching the end of their useful lives. We must meet the Government’s target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and at the same time balance the necessities of maintaining the country’s fuel security and allocating resources wisely for the long-term. 

At the same time, the Government is committed to the most complex smart metering and consumer engagement project in the world – the vision of a smart grid, where data becomes the prime commodity to manage consumption and demand. The Green Deal, probably the most radical set of policies aimed at household energy use for 40 years, is also changing the landscape for cutting energy use in homes.

We have to make the most of this opportunity to understand more about power usage.