Developing electricity response systems to promote conservation and demand management

In partnership with Milton Hydro, we received funding from the Ontario Centre for Energy to pursue a two-year (2006-2007) project with the following purpose:

The purpose of this project is to advance the effective implementation of electricity response systems to promote conservation and demand-side management strategies across the Province of Ontario. Through analysis of existing international programs (e.g., ‘critical peak pricing regimes’) and national initiatives (in particular, Milton (Ontario) Hydro’s ‘Energy Drill’ and ‘Cool Shops’ programs), we will develop and document effective electricity response systems to promote conservation and demand-side management. These systems will then be implemented in different parts of Ontario – more specifically, in Milton, as well as at least two other locations in south-western Ontario. In light of the experience gained, these systems will then be reviewed and refined. In this way, we aim to move beyond general reflection upon these issues and on to the opportunities and challenges associated with the actual implementation of electricity response systems in communities across Ontario. Thus, we aim to make a constructive and tangible contribution to efforts to address Ontario’s electricity challenges.

Here is a short summary of the current work underway (PDF).

Project ​results

A presentation entitled 'Alternative Pricing Regimes in Ontario: Exploring the Impacts' (by Ian Rowlands) was presented at a Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation (CEATI)-Workshop entitled 'Understanding Customer Response' (Toronto, ON, May 2006). View a copy of this presentation (PDF). Work on the themes raised in this presentation is continuing.

Masters of Environmental Studies (MES) student Jennifer Robinson presented some of her thesis results at the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)'s Discovery 2007 Conference in Toronto, ON on 1 May 2007.  Her poster was entitled 'The Effect of Electricity-Use Feedback on Residential Consumption Behaviour and Attitudes'.

Jennifer also presented work at the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy's 2007 Summer Study in France in June 2007. Her poster (and paper) was entitled 'Who Benefits? The Impacts of Time-of-Use Electricity Pricing on Demographic Groups in Ontario, Canada' (co-authored with Ian H. Rowlands).

Jennifer successfully defended her MES thesis in September 2007. 

Jennifer presented some of her thesis results at the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference (November 2007 in California).  View a copy of Jennifer's poster (PDF).

MES student Stephen Mooney presented some of his thesis results at the Greening of Industry Network Conference on Sustainable Ecosystem and Social Stewardship in Waterloo, ON in June 2007.  His paper was entitled 'Why Do Businesses Undertake Electricity Conservation and Demand Management Activities?: An Investigation of Medium- and Large-Scale Electricity Customers in Milton, Ontario' (co-authored with Ian H. Rowlands).

MES student Sarah Ivy Simmons presented some of her thesis results at the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference in Sacramento, California in November 2007.  Her poster was entitled 'Time-of-use (TOU) Rates and Vulnerable Households: Electricity Consumption Behavior in a Canadian Case Study (PDF)' (co-authored with Ian H. Rowlands).

MES student Claire Beckstead successfully defended her MES thesis -- entitled 'The Social Acceptance of School-based Solar Photovoltaic Projects: An Ontario, Canada Case Study' -- in September 2008.