‘Nudging’ energy users: regulatory measures to address the risk of aggregate peak demand in European electricity markets
Torriti, J. (2012) ‘Nudging’ energy users: regulatory measures to address the risk of aggregate peak demand in European electricity markets. In: Regulation & Governance 2012, 27-30 June 2012, Exeter.
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Official URL: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/reggov2012/programme/thurs...
For decades regulators in the energy sector have focused on facilitating the maximisation of energy supply in order to meet demand through liberalisation and removal of market barriers. The debate on climate change has emphasised a new type of risk in the balance between energy demand and supply: excessively high energy demand brings about significantly negative environmental and economic impacts. This is because if a vast number of users is consuming electricity at the same time, energy suppliers have to activate dirty old power plants with higher greenhouse gas emissions and higher system costs. The creation of a Europe-wide electricity market requires a systematic investigation into the risk of aggregate peak demand. This paper draws on the e-Living Time-Use Survey database to assess the risk of aggregate peak residential electricity demand for European energy markets. Findings highlight in which countries and for what activities the risk of aggregate peak demand is greater. The discussion highlights which approaches energy regulators have started considering to convince users about the risks of consuming too much energy during peak times. These include ‘nudging’ approaches such as the roll-out of smart meters, incentives for shifting the timing of energy consumption, differentiated time-of-use tariffs, regulatory financial incentives and consumption data sharing at the community level.