Experiences of Vulnerable Residential Customer Subpopulations with Critical Peak Pricing
Recent broad-based deployment of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) enables the opportunity for broader adoption of time-based rates, and the benefits that result have been sizable contributors to making the investments cost effective. However, some stakeholders have raised concerns about the assumptions underlying these particular benefits assessments in AMI business cases. Such concerns are especially acute for certain subpopulations of residential customers who might be considered vulnerable: low income, elderly and the chronically ill. Unfortunately, there is limited existing literature that addresses such concerns specifically with regard to these vulnerable subpopulations.
This report extends the existing empirical literature on the experiences of low-income customers exposed to critical peak pricing (CPP), and provides the first glimpses into the experiences of the elderly and those who reported being chronically ill. Specifically, we analyzed two of the time-based rate consumer behavior studies co-funded by the Department of Energy as part of the Smart Grid Investment Grant program in order to compare and contrast the experiences of vulnerable subpopulations and their non-vulnerable counterparts with respect to: electric usage profiles; acceptance, retention and response to a CPP rate design; as well as the financial impacts and tradeoffs in well-being, comfort or satisfaction associated with exposure to CPP.