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Taking charge: perceived control and acceptability of domestic demand-side response

Fell, MJ; (2016) Taking charge: perceived control and acceptability of domestic demand-side response. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

If widely adopted, domestic demand-side response (DSR) could help make Great Britain’s electricity system more secure, clean and affordable. However, research suggests some people have concerns about participating in DSR programmes, and prominent amongst these is a perceived loss of personal control. This programme of research used a combination of interview and survey methods to explore what such concern might encompass and how it relates to the acceptability of DSR. Initial focus group findings were drawn on to extend the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) with perceived control constructs and develop an associated measurement scale. A survey experiment including the new scale was deployed to a representative sample of GB bill-payers (N=2002) to test for the first time the relative acceptability of static/dynamic time of use (TOU) tariffs, with/without automated response, and direct load control (DLC). DLC was shown to be acceptable in principle to many people, with a tariff permitting limited DLC of heating being significantly more popular than the TOU tariffs. The option of automated response made dynamic TOU (otherwise the least popular tariff) as acceptable as static TOU. This is important because dynamic TOU offers additional network benefits, while automation can improve duration and reliability of response. The tariffs were generally rated highly for giving people control over spending on electricity, but perceived control over general service quality, ease of use and savings potential were more important in overall acceptance and should be prioritized in product development/communication. Further research in a field trial including automated response by heat pumps to TOU tariffs highlighted various challenges if automated DSR is to be acceptable in reality. These include overheating potential when pre-heating at lower prices, the importance of ease of use, and effective override ability. The implications of these and other findings for policy, industry and research are discussed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Taking charge: perceived control and acceptability of domestic demand-side response
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
Keywords: demand-side response, energy, electricity, acceptability, focus groups, social surveys, interviews, Great Britain, time of use tariffs, direct load control, automation
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475103
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