Changing Customers’ Peak Usage Behaviour

Business challenge

A substation operated by DNO Electricity North West that served a local community in Stockport was reaching capacity (at peak load).

Electricity North West commissioned us to investigate the feasibility of engaging with customers to achieve a sustained reduction in peak demand of 10%. If successful, it would negate or at least defer the need for traditional reinforcement of the network which is both costly and disruptive to customers, as well as potentially reducing customers’ bills in the short term.

What we did

We created the ‘Powersaver Challenge’.

  • 250 customers were recruited to participate in the Challenge and were provided with advice and gadgets (such as shower timers) during a home energy visit.
  • A programme of events (such as cooking demonstrations that showed how to use a slow cooker to reduce ‘evening meatime’ power usage) was run within the community to build engagement.
  • Research monitored customers’ perceptions at different stages of the challenge.
  • Technical data was compared to survey results to provide a robust evaluation of the trial’s success.


25% of the local population took part in the challenge and over 90% took part in the customer research.

  • Customer surveys showed that participating households changed their energy usage behaviour and their attitude towards energy consumption, during the trial and after it had ended.
  • The 10% target for reduction in energy usage was achieved.
  • A blueprint has been created to facilitate replication of the project in other areas.

The Powersaver Challenge project was highly commended at the 2015 Business in the Community Awards.