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Organising energy: Consumption, production, and co-provision

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/12/2000
<mark>Journal</mark>Proceedings ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
Volume8
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)8.39-8.50
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The fragmentation of utility networks and the emergence of new energy providers, including community-based organisations, calls for a more consumer-oriented examination of utility systems management. Although demand-side management (DSM) approaches have claimed to draw the consumer more into energy network planning, this has often involved only a partial understanding of consumer interests in the energy field, which are still seen from a largely provider-oriented perspective. Such a position ignores not only the importance of issues such as consumer comfort in setting energy schedules, but also the scope for consumers to act as joint 'scripters' of energy network arrangements. This paper calls for a re-examination of the organisation of utility "systems of provision" and of the technologies involved in the provision of domestic energy. Drawing on examples from the UK, we explain how particular storage systems and devices are strategically configured along utility supply chains in order to frame how and when energy can be consumed. As well as providing an overview on how energy is controlled and organised, the paper will reveal the range of actors (utility companies, community organisations and households) involved in the tactical configuration of what amounts to the "co-provision" of energy at various levels. This is important since such configurations shape the distribution of individual and organisational responsibility across the network and so influence the points and possibilities for intervention in the cause of energy efficiency.