About METER

How it works

METER is a national research project to understand what we use electricity for. And anyone can take part.

In this study we ask thousands of UK households to submit a one day record of their activities. During this day we also measure electricity use minute by minute. Find out what you can do as a participant.

The scale of the project is made possible by the innovative use of smart phones.

METER


Project aims

The combination of activity and electricity data can give us valuable insights into the timing and flexibility of electricity. METER data is intended to help us to develop new approaches to reduce demand at critical times, while avoiding inconvenience for users. METER will test different forms of incentives and interventions to establish an evidence base for load shifting against a statistically robust baseline.

This becomes especially important when we try to make better use of variable renewable sources of electricity. If we can identify a load shifting potential of only 1kW (half the power of a washing machine) in 1% of UK households, the national cost saving could easily exceed a quarter of a billion pounds.



Funding

METER is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under the Early Career Fellowship scheme. Ref. EP/M024652/1.






Meet the team

EPSRC Fellow, PI

Dr Phil Grunewald

Environmental Change Institute,
University of Oxford

Phil holds a fellowship from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop our understanding of household electricity use. In the past Phil has modelled future energy systems to establish what role storage could play. This work led to the realisation that we need a better understanding of flexibility in electricity systems more generally and on the demand side in particular.



Data Scientist

Dr Marina Diakonova

Environmental Change Institute,
University of Oxford

Marina is a physicist with a PhD in statistical analysis from the University of Warwick. She joined the Meter project in November 2016 and develops visualisations and analytical tools that will help us to better understand the complex relationships between activities and electricity use.



Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Davide Zilli

Engineering Department,
University of Oxford

Davide is interested in the application of machine learning algorithms to the monitoring of the natural environment. He developed the app, which makes activity collections so much easier than hand written diaries. He also develops apps to detect malaria infected mosquitoes, which could have a profound effect on developing countries.

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Senior Researcher

Dr Russell Layberry

Environmental Change Institute,
University of Oxford

Russ is the inventor behind the low cost smart meter used in this study. He leads the Environmental Monitoring and Analytics theme within the Energy Research group of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University.i

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Our partners

Partners

eci METER is hosted by the Environmental Change InstituteUniversity of Oxford, where it forms part of the Oxford Networks for the Environment (ONE) and Oxford Energy.

BEIS
Peter Warren
Senior Scientific Officer, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

national-grid

Russell Fowler
Power Demand Manager, National Grid

UKERC

Jim Watson
Research Director, UKERC


demand
Jacopo Torriti
Associate Professor, University of Reading

pilio
Catherine Bottrill
CEO, Pilio

moixa
Chris Wright
CTO, Moixa Technology

linkoeping
Kajsa Ellegård
Professor, Linköping University


Lewis Knight
Bioregional




About the partners


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) works to make sure the UK has secure, clean, affordable energy supplies and promote international action to mitigate climate change. Part of BEIS's strategic priorities are to reduce fuel poverty and energy use in the domestic sector, and the METER project will provide robust evidence on the success of different incentives to encourage households to reduce energy at critical times and contribute to UK energy security.

National Grid own and operate the high voltage electricity transmission system in England and Wales and as National Electricity Transmission System Operator (NETSO) they operate the Scottish high voltage transmission system. They play a vital role at the centre of the energy industry connecting millions of people safely, reliably and efficiently to the energy they use. How households may change their energy usage in the future, due to technological or behavioural changes, has the potential to play a major role in how energy systems are balanced and developed in the future. In order to fully comprehend and realise this potential a clear and detailed understanding of the relationship between energy use and behaviours will be required, including a current “baseline” for this relationship. The METER project looks to provide an understanding of this relationship today.

pilio

Pilio provides businesses and communities with highly effective building energy software tools and expert guidance to ensure that seemingly small changes have a big impact in achieving cost savings and environmental protection. The measurement technology used in this project was invented by Pilio. Pilio is supporting its application on this scale, which will provide an important demonstration of Pilio's capabilities. The information resulting from this research will assist us in benchmarking our own place in the energy advice market and could lead to the development of new business models.

moixa

Moixa Technology are a leading pioneer of Smart Storage and DC (Direct Current) technologies, and proprietary solutions, that enable more efficient power for Lighting and electronics, easy renewable and battery storage integration, and provide consumers with true smart energy management to take control of energy use. Moixa is changing the way we produce and use electricity. Their ambition is to power the future efficiently and affordably, to help keep the lights on and electronics online, at the lowest possible price and carbon use.

linkoeping

The time geography network at the University of Linköping, Sweden, is conducting world leading research on the collection and visualisation of energy consumption activities with a view to understand consumption better and lead to efficiency improvements and behavioural change. We have developed software for data collection methods and activity categorisations that goes beyond those used in conventional time-use surveys. Currently, we develop an application for mobile devices, complementing this research. We also developed VISUAL- TimePAcTS, a visualisation software to illustrate the energy use and their temporal relationship with the activities performed.

demand

The DEMAND Centre (Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand) takes a distinctive approach to end use energy demand, recognising that energy is not used for its own sake but as part of accomplishing social practices at home, at work and in moving around. In essence the Centre focuses on what energy is for. This approach generates an ambitious research agenda that is crucial for organisations involved in demand management and in radically reconfiguring infrastructures, buildings and transport systems in line with greenhouse gas emissions targets. While greater efficiency is important, the trend is often towards more resource intensive standards of comfort, convenience and speed. The problem is that we lack a sophisticated understanding of how these trends take hold and of the underlying dynamics of demand itself. In focusing on how demand is made and met, the Centre will examine changing patterns in mobility and building-related energy use and take forward a wide-ranging agenda for future research and policy.

BioRegional is an entrepreneurial charity, which establishes sustainable businesses and works with partners around the world to demonstrate that a sustainable future can be easy, attractive and affordable. We call our approach One Planet Living. The enterprises and companies that BioRegional has helped to establish have won 22 UK and 6 international awards for outstanding practice in their field. We are very interested in better understanding load profiles, which are increasingly becoming a critical assessment tool when planning the integration of renewable energy sources. METER helps us to show how different activity profiles could contribute towards a reduction in network constraints, which are already inhibiting low carbon sources from being connected.

UKERC

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) carries out world-class research into sustainable future energy systems. UKERC is the largest RCUK-funded research centre focusing on ‘whole energy systems’, and has recently been funded for a third five-year phase of activities (2014-19). It brings together engineers, social scientists and natural scientists to explore the UK energy transition in an uncertain world, and the synergies and trade-offs between the key drivers for this transition. UKERC also acts as an important hub for the UK energy research community, and the gateway between the UK and the international energy research communities.


Take part

and you could win a year's free electricity (*)