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10 Jun 2012

Abu Dhabi Energy Purchasing Trial

Abu Dhabi - June 10, 2012:  As part of a wider initiative aimed at increasing consumer awareness of electricity consumption, Abu Dhabi’s Powerwise Office, which is part of the Emirate’s Regulation and Supervision Bureau, is rolling out an energy purchasing trial for up to 400 volunteers. The trial is designed to help customers and electricity companies assess and analyse consumption behaviour.  The 400 volunteers will be recruited from villas in pre-selected gated communities and the trial will run for approximately 16 months. 

Speaking on behalf of the Regulation and Supervision Bureau, Nicholas Carter, Director General said “Meeting electricity demand during peak hours means generators working only perhaps 8 hours a day in the summer and even less in the winter. Ideally, to maximise these generators for a longer period, we need to reduce the short-term peak by making the load flatter over a 24-hour period.”

Ramiz Alaileh, the Bureau’s Powerwise Manager explained, “It is all about “flattening” the peak in a voluntary way by incentivising customers to change their behaviour. We are doing this by offering a special electronic display which will inform customers of their electricity consumption at any time during the day.”

The trial introduces two indicative charge rates during a 24-hour period. Peak time (2pm – 8pm) is when electricity is most in demand, particularly in the summer months, and will be assigned a higher charge rate. Off-peak time will cover the remainder of the 24-hour period, when rates will be lower. Throughout the trial, volunteer households will continue to pay their standard published rates to Abu Dhabi Distribution Company.  At the end of the trial, the Bureau will be able to determine if price signals have changed a customer’s behaviour or not.

The energy purchasing trial started this week with recruitment of volunteers, after which there will be a pre-assessment of houses for installation of the electronic display. This will be followed by familiarising volunteers with the process of reading and interpreting their display. Once comfortable with the process of monitoring and optimising energy consumption, time-of-day pricing will be introduced to assess if the knowledge of having a lower rate has an impact on electricity consumption.

Ramiz explained, “This is a very exciting trial and will enable the whole sector to think about how to use its assets in a more efficient way, once we know the results. In the end, we can only change the way people use electricity wisely when we have good data and that is what this trial and Powerwise is all about.”

The trial will end in late 2013, when all displays will be collected and the two charge rates are switched off.  To reflect the performance of households during the trial, a personalised report will be sent across to volunteers at regular intervals.

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