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Sample household electricity time of use data

Ensuring that households have access to the necessary information to manage their electricity bills and making better use of electricity networks are key challenges in Australia and across the globe. Knowing how, when and why households use electricity is a key challenge to achieving both these goals. This type of information will help households choose solutions that work for them, It will also help network and other businesses plan and provide services that benefit the whole community, as well as individuals.

New technologies, such as smart meters, provide access to more detailed energy use information which could support energy use decisions. With the information provided by a smart meter comes the possibility of endless energy use apps and tools to help consumers become better informed and find smarter, simpler ways to manage their energy. This data provides an example of household smart-meter data to allow developers to begin to imagine and trial tools that can help households and others to make best use of this data. For example, tools to help:

• households choose electricity tariff offers and appliances that suit their lifestyle,

• households find ways to manage their electricity use to manage their bills and

• network or energy services companies facilitate changes in household demand to support the management of the grid.

The powerful combination of information on appliance energy efficiency, matched with a households load profile information, can help people take control of their electricity use in an informed way to manage their use and bills. The list is as long as your imagination.

To get a real handle on a households’ energy use over a year, half-hourly meter reads, such as those taken by a smart meter, are needed. This generates more than 17,000 data points per household, per year, and means that, for most households, using an app or other tool provided by a service provider will be essential to help them easily turn this new information into something of practical use.

This sample dataset

The sample data provided here is one of the largest data sets of its kind, and provides details of how households actually use their data across a day, and in different seasons. This usage information is coupled with details about the household characteristics, as there may be causal links between the two. This dataset provides the following information, for 31 example households:

  1. Electricity use (kwh) measured in 30 min intervals over approximately a year, as measured by a smart meter

  2. Some basic household demographic information based on a survey

The entire Smart Grid Smart City data set is available from the Smart Grid Smart City Information Clearing House. The full data set includes data for more than 3,000 households over the four year period of the trial. That data includes not only the electricity interval measurements and household information, but also additional details on which appliances were used when, households’ response to different types of technology and tariff offers, and more. The provided set of example households was taken from the Smart Grid, Smart City pilot project. These customers are in the greater Newcastle area in NSW.

The supporting dataset providing basic household information (such as income group, renting, number of occupants, children, has gas, has solar panels, has air-conditioning) was taken by survey and might be information which could be requested of consumers through an app of their choosing. Importantly it would not generally be available but was collected as part of the Smart Grid Smart City project, and is shared – in a de-identified way – with the permission of the households that participated.

Examples of possible uses for customers of their smart meter data include:

• Choosing an electricity retail contract/price by comparing the effect on bills of different peak/off-peak prices offered by different retailers based on their personal use (combined with electricity tariffs such as those listed on www.energymadeeasy.gov.au or www.switchon.vic.gov.au)

• Monitoring their expected bill over time, so they know how much they are spending

• Combining with appliance control plugs or a thermostat to monitor or actively control appliance use around the house – for example by turning the air-conditioned temperature up a few degrees during peak times/prices.

• Providing advice on how to reduce their future energy bills – for example by combining with appliance efficiency data (https://data.gov.au/dataset/energy-rating-for-household-appliances) to decide which appliances to upgrade, based on their personal (rather than average) usage and personal retail tariff.

• Monitoring or controlling PV output to estimate its impact on the bill, payback through feed-in tariffs or just so the consumer knows when they are using their own power or importing power.

For uses beyond personal household use, analysing and understanding smart meter information is part of the story of what drives electricity prices and, subsequently, bills.

Networks and generation must be built to meet peak demand. As peak demand grows new investment is needed and this can increase prices. Peak demand occurs very rarely, mostly for only a few hours on the hottest days of summer when air-conditioning loads are high. The rest of the time the network and generators are there, but not being fully utilised: the difference between peak and average demand is known as the load factor.

Exploring the patterns of the times at which households use electricity, looking at how these affect the relationship between peak and off-peak use, and what types of changes could be made to improve the load factor, are all key to exploring how to have a more efficient electricity grid and reduce network and generation costs. Developing better price signals for customers and providing incentives to reduce peak demand growth can reduce prices for everybody.

Additional resources

This data is a subset of data gathered through the Smart Grid Smart City project. The full set of customer trial data from which this sample is derived, including time of use and household characteristic data, is available here on data.gov.au at: https://data.gov.au/dataset/smart-grid-smart-city-customer-trial-data

Further details of the project are available at: http://www.industry.gov.au/ENERGY/PROGRAMMES/SMARTGRIDSMARTCITY/Pages/default.aspx

The Australian Energy Regulator has published a graph of average seasonal peak demand (and the data behind it), that may be of interest in exploring this data set: http://www.aer.gov.au/node/9766

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Title Sample household electricity time of use data
Type Dataset
Language English
Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia
Data Status active
Update Frequency daily
Landing Page http://data.gov.au/dataset/75a87672-2c84-4b62-ab02-00fb71289c22
Date Published 2014-07-09
Date Updated 2016-01-20
Contact Point
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
Temporal Coverage April 2013 to March 2014
Geospatial Coverage Greater Newcastle - New South Wales
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Data Portal data.gov.au
Publisher/Agency Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
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