UCL Energy Institute


PACE's Recent and Ongoing Projects

PACE group

This page provides brief details on projects which PACE members have been involved in during the last few years. Some PACE researchers receive core funding through the RCUK Centre for Energy Epidemiology and the London-Loughborough (LoLo) EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand

Please see the publications page for our recent published outputs.

Distributed ledgers as a disruptor of energy retail markets (Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions) | 2018 - ongoing

Funder: UKRI (EPSRC and ESRC)

Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are contributing to disruption of established retail markets across many sectors, and are creating new ways to buy and sell energy. The structure of such markets is likely to be a key determinant of ultimate social and energy system outcomes, such as mitigating fuel poverty or reducing local grid congestion. Project 6.3.3 of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) proposes the first systematic study of the relationship between DLT-enabled energy retail market structure and potential energy policy outcomes, and will employ a realist review approach to help identify 'what works for whom under what circumstances?'. More information is available on the project website.

The Internet of Energy Things (P2P – IoET) | 2017-2018

Funder: EPSRC via PETRAS | With: UKPN, Siemens

The rapid rise of local and community based renewable energy generation, combined with the rollout of smart meters, breakthroughs in IT, and electricity grid congestion is bringing about radically new collaborative economy business models in energy. In response, people are beginning to trade energy locally. Distributed ledger (blockchain) technologies are used to authenticate and track ownership of energy production, consumption, and demand-side response ensuring each unit of energy is securely and transparently accounted for. This project will lay the ground work for such systems in the UK – analysing the regulatory, security, engineering and societal requirements for their acceptability.

Energywise “Vulnerable Customers and Energy Efficiency” (VCEE) | 2014-2017

Funder: Ofgem (LCNF) | With: UKPN, British Gas, CAG Consultants, Tower Hamlets Homes, Poplar HARCA, Bromley-by-Bow Community Centre.

Energywise/VCEE is a large behavioural ToU tariff study and the first project to investigate how distribution network operators (DNOs), in collaboration with an energy supplier, charity groups and local community actors, can engage with vulnerable and low income customers to reduce energy demand using smart meters and to reduce peak electricity demand using ToU tariffs. The overarching aim of this project is enhance our insight into the needs of customers classified as 'fuel poor', a group with significant overlaps with those who are vulnerable, and to explore the means to engage with them to facilitate increased participation in energy efficiency and time of use tariffs.

Dr Charlotte Johnson has given a brief video interview about some of here work relating to this project:

The Value of Time of Use Tariffs in Great Britain | 2016-2017

Funder: Citizens Advice | With: The Brattle Group

Members of the group conducted a systematised review of evidence on rates of uptake to time of use tariffs around the world. Additional reviews assessed evidence on levels of satisfaction and peak reduction. We also conducted a survey experiment on a nationally representative sample of 3000 energy bill-payers to test the effect of tariff design and marketing (and other questions) on uptake. The Brattle Group incorporated these findings to model the potential value of time of use tariffs to the GB energy system.

Energising health: A review of the health and care applications of smart meter data | 2016-2017

Funder: Smart Energy GB

We conducted a systematised review of research into the health and care applications of smart meter data, such as recognising unusual patterns in appliance energy data that may suggest a health-relevant issue such as a fall. We assessed potential future uses of this approach and the challenges that will need to be overcome if it is to become viable.

Encouraging consumers to sign up to time of use tariffs: A field experiment with the Government Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Energy Saving Trust | 2016

Funder: EPSRC | With: Office for Low Emission Vehicles

UCL worked with the UK Government Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Energy Saving Trust to test whether email prompts could be used to encourage electric vehicle owners to consider switching electricity tariff, including to time of use tariffs.

Advisors, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Consumer Demand-Side Response project | 2016

DECC invited UCL to provide expert advice to inform this work on aspects including: the effect of tariff rate structures on consumer response to ToU tariffs and other DSR; non price factors (information, trust, privacy) affecting consumer response to ToU and other DSR; the impact of automation (e.g. smart meters, smart appliances, smart heating controls) on consumer behaviour.

Seamless Demand Response Pilot | 2014-2015

Funder: DECC | With: PassivSystems

Coordinated by PassivSystems (an energy management company), the Seamless Demand Response Project’s key aim was to demonstrate the delivery of demand response through domestic load control as a means of delivering services to smart grid and energy service providers. It consisted of a technical trial of a new heat pump controller with the ability to cost-optimize heat pump operation, including in response to time of use tariffs. PACE members were involved in social research including survey analysis and interview design, conduct and analysis. The project yielded valuable findings on both heat pump performance in response to DSR signals and the customer experience of functions necessary to permit DSR such as pre-heating, which are being drawn on to inform future iterations of the product.

Is it time? Consumers and time of use tariffs | 2014-2015

Funder: EPSRC and Smart Energy GB

This project was the first national study of consumer attitudes to smart-meter enabled ToU tariffs amongst ordinary domestic power customers in Great Britain. Two nationally representative studies of ~2,000 British energy bill payers were used to: (1) measure the extent to which consumers were willing to sign up to a variety of different time of use tariff rate designs including: static time of use, dynamic time of use, with and without automation, and third party direct load control; and (2) test what marketing messages, designed using insights from behavioural economics, would be most effective at encouraging consumers to sign up.