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Abu Dhabi flags off energy purchasing trial

Will study electricity consumers’ behaviour when placed on a time-of-day pricing

| | Jul 11, 2012 | 9:41 am
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Will study electricity consumers’ behaviour when placed on a time-of-day pricing

As part of a wider initiative aimed at increasing consumer awareness of electricity consumption, Abu Dhabi’s Powerwise Office, which is part of the Emirate’s Regulation and Supervision Bureau (RSB), is rolling out an energy purchasing trial for up to 400 volunteers. Announcing this, the RSB explained that the trial is designed to help customers and electricity companies assess and analyse consumption behaviour. The 400 volunteers, recruited from villas in pre-selected gated communities will participate in the trial, which will run for approximately 16 months.

According to the RSB, the trial introduces two indicative charge rates during a 24-hour period: peak time (2pm to 8pm), when electricity is most in demand, particularly in the summer months, which will be assigned a higher charge rate and off-peak time, which will cover the remainder of the 24-hour period, when rates will be lower. The RSB highlighted that volunteer households will continue to pay their standard published rates to Abu Dhabi Distribution Company throughout the trial, and at the end of the trial, the Bureau will be able to determine if price signals have changed a customer’s behaviour or not.

The RSB revealed that the energy purchasing trial was already under way with recruitment of volunteer households, and that the other processes involved pre-assessment of houses for installation of the electronic display, followed by familiarising volunteers with reading and interpreting their display. Once the volunteer households are comfortable with the process of monitoring and optimising energy consumption, time-of-day pricing will be introduced to assess if the knowledge of having a lower rate has an impact on electricity consumption, the RSB added.

Speaking on behalf of the RSB, Nicholas Carter, Director General, RSB, said: “Meeting electricity demand during peak hours means generators working only perhaps eight hours a day in the summer and even less in the winter. Ideally, to maximise these generators for a longer period, we need to reduce the short-term peak by making the load flatter over a 24-hour period.”

Ramiz Alaileh, the Bureau’s Powerwise Manager elaborated: “It is all about “flattening” the peak in a voluntary way by incentivising customers to change their behaviour. We are doing this by offering a special electronic display, which will inform customers of their electricity consumption at any time during the day. This is a very exciting trial and will enable the whole sector to think about how to use its assets in a more efficient way, once we know the results. In the end, we can only change the way people use electricity wisely when we have good data, and that is what this trial and Powerwise is all about.”

The trial will end in late 2013, said RSB, when all displays will be collected and the two charge rates are switched off. To reflect the performance of households during the trial, a personalised report will be sent across to volunteers at regular intervals, it added.

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