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Exploring the impact of network tariffs on household electricity expenditures using load profiles and socio-economic characteristics


Growing self-generation and storage are expected to cause significant changes in residential electricity utilization patterns. Commonly applied volumetric network tariffs may induce imbalance between different groups of households and their respective contribution to recovering the operating costs of the grid. Understanding consumer behaviour and appliance usage together with socio-economic factors can help regulatory authorities to adapt network tariffs to new circumstances in a fair way. Here, we assess the effects of 11 network tariff scenarios on household budgets using real load profiles from 765 households. Thus we explore the possibly disruptive impact of applying peak-load-based tariffs on the budgets of households when they have been mainly charged for consumed volumes before. Our analysis estimates the change in household network expenditure for different combinations of energy, peak and fixed charges, and can help to design tariffs that recover the costs needed for the sustainable operation of the grid.

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Fig. 1: Change in annual network expenditure under different tariff scenarios.
Fig. 2: Comparison of the load profiles of different types of households in our subsample with respective standardized load profile H0.
Fig. 3: Percentage of households exceeding certain load thresholds at a certain time of the day at least once during the observation period.


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This research was done as a part of PEAKapp project that has received funding under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No. 695945 ( A.K. received additional funding from the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (No. 848114). D.E. and C.F. gratefully acknowledge the financial support by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, the Austrian National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development and the Federal State of Salzburg. This research was enriched through discussions about international network regulation with B. Mountain, R. Muruais, J. Cohen and D. Pezenka.

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A.K. and J.R. were primarily responsible for the creation and implementation of the survey instrument. D.E. and C.F. were primarily responsible for the creation and management of the dataset, including load profiles. V.A. and J.R. mainly contributed to data analysis. All authors contributed to the writing of the paper with V.A., A.K. and J.R. as the primary authors.

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Correspondence to Johannes Reichl.

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Supplementary Figures 1–3, Supplementary Tables 1–6, Supplementary Notes 1–3 and Supplementary References.

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Azarova, V., Engel, D., Ferner, C. et al. Exploring the impact of network tariffs on household electricity expenditures using load profiles and socio-economic characteristics. Nat Energy 3, 317–325 (2018).

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