Accepted Paper:

Household relations and domestic demand side response  


Sandra Bell (Durham University)
Ellis Judson (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

Domestic electricity consumption resides in the ‘household’:a taken for granted formula that masks complex formations of household composition and energy practices. But how do relations between household members contribute to shaping the energy practices that determine consumption?

Paper long abstract:

Electricity consumption in the domestic setting resides in the 'household' and is measured by a single meter. This taken for granted formula masks the dynamic and often complex formations of residential patterns, household composition and energy practices that constitute each example. In this paper we investigate how an individual's positions within the household and relations between members contribute to shaping the energy practices that determine consumption. In particular we ask how age and gender influence people's practices within the household. Studies of energy use through the lens of gender make up only a tiny minority of the otherwise thriving literature on sustainable domestic energy use (Roehr, 2002; Clancy, 2003; Skutsch, 2005; Oparaocha, 2011) while generational effects are with rare exceptions (Gram-Hanssen, 2007) hard to find.

The paper draws on the Customer Led Network Revolution Project, a large empirical research project in the UK which has conducted trials of time of use pricing and temporary interruptions to supply. We investigate the domestic roles and responsibilities involved in the performance of everyday practices which mediate relationships between energy systems and people and between people (Ropke and Christensen, 2013). In a study of 131 households we find age, relatedness, fluidity in household composition and gender roles and norms affect the performance of domestic practices and that in many ways women retain

roles and responsibilities associated with certain practices associated with demand for power in the early evening peak period and which hold considerable potential for DSM.

Panel P078
Ubiquitous energy: everyday energy rhythms, practices and experiences