Summer Saver Research Program

Summer Saver

Project dates: 2018 - 2019

Working with CitySmart, Brisbane City Council’s sustainability agency, this research program investigated how different consumer households think about and use electricity during peak demand events. Peak demand events occasionally occur throughout the year when the temperature is sustained above 35 degrees for several days in a row. During this time electricity providers may utilise a variety of responses to ensure that customers maintain safe and reliable power supplies. Demand response is one way that the electricity network can respond to peak demand. Demand response occurs when customers actively make the decision to use less electricity or allow for remote control of certain appliances in their home. Examples include consumers manually setting their air conditioning to 24 degrees, or allowing their air-conditioning to be adjusted remotely during a specific high-demand time – for instance, during one of the hottest days in Summer.

In order to encourage consumers to engage in this pro-environmental and pro-social behaviour, this project examined the types of consumer-segments, the load profiles for households, and how these households responded to different program approaches and messages.

This project built an evidence base around the needs and unique characteristics of different consumer household segments, as well as their communication preferences, and the behavioural changes required to overcome perceived barriers. The results show that conventional education and awareness approaches in the electricity sector need to evolve to better meet the needs of today’s digital consumer. The outcomes of this project can be used to support policy development and consumer education.


Funding / Grants

  • CitiPower/Powercor; United Energy; RACV (2018 - 2019)

Chief Investigators

Other Team Members

  • Reid Ossington - Project Manager, City Smart
  • Rob Hudson (Clemenger BBDO)
  • Professor Adam Clements
  • Associate Professor Geoff Walker
  • Natalie Sketcher - Visual Designer, QUT