Workshop: Technology transforming markets: Large-scale field experiments in electricity use

A workshop presented by the University of Melbourne’s Carlton Connect Initiative and the Centre for Market Design.

University of Melbourne researchers developed a research agenda to evaluate the impact of smart meter technology on household energy use. Partnering with an innovative start-up company, Billcap, they are using large-scale field experiments to study how consumers:

  1. conserve electricity
  2. opt for new pricing plans
  3. switch retailers.

The first of these experiments has been carried out with a small retailer in Victoria. This workshop presented the preliminary findings of this research.

International energy economics experts also presented recent research on the impacts of smart meter technologies on electricity markets in the United States and Europe. The workshop concluded with a panel discussion about regulatory reforms in markets with smart meters and retail competition, as we have in Victoria, with a focus on what we can learn from recent research at the intersection of behavioural and energy economics.

Topics included:

  • How consumers respond to information about household consumption and benchmarking relative to their peers
  • Impact of retailer energy information services on customer loyalty •
  • Within‐retailer plan switching and customer responses to time‐of‐use price schedules
  • Retail market impacts of customer heterogeneity revealed by smart meters
  • To what extent the benefits of smart meters are shared by low–‐income or otherwise vulnerable populations

Follow the link to view powerpoint slides and other resources from the workshop.