THE EFFECT OF HOUSEHOLD CHARACTERISTICS ON TOTAL AND PEAK ELECTRICITY USE IN SUMMER
We analyzed hourly electricity use data from households in southern Ontario, Canada (N=284) for which we also had survey data on some household characteristics. Dependent variables were total annual electricity use, summer use, summer use during on-peak hours defined by the local time-of-use tariff, use during the 1% of highest systemwide demand hours in summer, and the correlation between household demand and systemwide demand during summer on-peak hours. Results show, as expected, that larger houses with more occupants tend to use more electricity during all periods. However, in the very highest demand periods in the summer, ownership of a central air conditioner is the most important predictor of energy use. This suggests that utilities wishing to reduce systemwide peak usage should focus their summer demand reduction programs on houses with central air conditioners. The impending roll-out of advanced metering infrastructure in North America will facilitate this kind of analysis in many other jurisdictions in the future.
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