SAVE (Solent Achieving Value in Efficiency) is a major £8m Ofgem funded trial in 4,000 homes in the Solent region. We’re working with SSE Electricity Networks, University of Southampton and energy consultants DNV GL to test the potential of behaviour change interventions to reduce peak time electricity use in homes.
Using an innovative online research methodology, we engaged with 9 families to get under the skin of their electricity usage during the crucial 4-8pm period and understand how they might respond to different types of interventions.
We learned that 4-8pm is peak time for a reason
People are at home doing things they consider essential. While there is no low hanging fruit in terms of usage that could easily be shifted, we did identify certain appliances (such as the washing machine) that offered potential to do so.
Our research left us with a major dilemma, whether the behaviour we were promoting should primarily be about cutting usage during the 4-8pm time period or shifting it to outside of the period. As this is a trial, we decided to test both approaches one after the other.
Our first trial period ran from Jan to Mar 2017 and tested a shift proposition:
“Can it wait till after 8?”
Using SSEN’s own staff as trusted messengers, we developed a range of materials which explained the importance of the network and how we can all help keep the power flowing.
Behaviour Change is managing the strategy and creative delivery of all aspects of consumer engagement for the project which is taking place across a range of channels including printed materials sent by post, an online energy monitoring portal, email and text messaging.
The trial is being evaluated robustly by the University of Southampton who are collecting consumption data directly from participants’ electricity meters and will be monitoring trends and the effect of particular messages and types of materials sent. Participants are divided into four groups of 1,000 homes, three of which will receive different types of interventions, with one as the control group. The second trial period has been running from Oct to Mar, testing a ‘cut’ proposition. Once the trial is complete in 2019 a full evaluation of its impact will be available.