(Press-News.org) Consumers can save money on their electricity bills and negotiate better deals by joining forces with similar groups of customers to switch energy suppliers according to new research. Collective switching or group buying schemes, where thousands of consumers join forces to negotiate cheaper electricity tariffs, are becoming more popular in the UK as bills continue to rise putting increasing pressure on household budgets. Initiatives like Which?'s Big Switch, People Power or the Big Deal have helped thousands of consumers to save, on average, up to a third of their yearly electricity bills. Now research from Heriot-Watt University and the University of Southampton proves these schemes work and proposes a model to help consumers form more efficient buying groups and minimize switching risks. A common problem with existing schemes is that one tariff may not be efficient for every consumer. Often they may have been financially better off not switching, or as the research now shows creating a new sub-group which chooses a different tariff. Speaking at the AAAI Artificial Intelligence conference in Canada this week Dr. Valentin Robu from Heriot-Watt University explains, "Electricity suppliers buy from the wholesale market where electricity prices are considerably lower. There are a number of ways they sell this onto consumers but typically they predict the amount of electricity required and pass on premium prices to consumers to cover any risk associated with over or under buying, allowing them to make profits. "Crucially, this is where group buying is important. While everyone has potentially some uncertainty about their future consumption, our work shows that, by grouping together, consumers can gain size and market power and reduce their risk and access better prices." In the new group buying models consumers start with a 'prediction-of-use tariff' which predicts their future consumption using their past data. Based on these patterns, they can then choose to join one of many different types of buyer groups with different tariffs, ranging from: Unpredictable: best suited to a flat tariff, which is identical to existing flat rate supplier tariffs, in which they just pay per unit consumed, irrespective of their prediction Predictable: best suited to a structured tariff where they pay less per unit of power predicted in advance but a higher penalty for over or under consumption The research has been tested using consumption data from 3,000 UK domestic consumers and techniques from the fields of artificial intelligence and coalition theory to help find the best solution for each household. Dr. Robu added, "While we now know how to efficiently form buyer groups to reduce each customer's electricity bill, previous research and practice shows customers are often reluctant to switch providers. Even if we can calculate what the most efficient decision would be consumers worry about loss of convenience and uncertainty of the future benefits. "Our next challenge is to design smarter systems that not only propose the efficient tariff groups, but also "nudge" people towards making the optimal choice for them." The ultimate aim of the research is to use artificial intelligence to design tools that enable consumers to choose their optimal tariff and allow them to identify other consumers to group with that have an efficient match in terms of their consumption patterns. INFORMATION: For more information please contact: Lynne Veitch
0131 556 0770 or email Lynne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
Technical note: The research was performed in collaboration with Dr. Meritxell Vinyals (currently at CEA, the French Centre for Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy in Paris) and Professors Alex Rogers and Nicholas R. Jennings from The University of Southampton. The paper is presented at AAAI, the 28th International Conference for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, held in Quebec, Canada. An authors' pre-print of the full paper is available at: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/364307/
Collective switching / group buying schemes emerged in Europe, particularly in Belgium and the Netherlands. In the UK the Big Switch estimated an average saving of around £233 per year, while Big Deal estimated £291 per year.
While there is no minimum number to create a collective switching group for the uncertainty reduction effects to be reasonable and to negotiate the best tariffs around 3,000 would be needed to make a scheme viable. The Big Switch attracted 37,000, while the BigDeal attracted 10,000.
About Heriot-Watt University
Heriot-Watt University specialises in science, technology, engineering, business and design, with a particular focus on developing solutions to critical global issues, such as climate change and energy.
Established in 1821, the university has campuses in Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders, Orkney and Dubai, and is investing £35 million in a new campus in Malaysia.
Research proves there is power in numbers to reduce electricity bills
Consumers can save money on their electricity bills and negotiate better deals by joining forces
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
Engineering a protein to prevent brain damage from toxic agents
Research at New York University is paving the way for a breakthrough that may prevent brain damage in civilians and military troops exposed to poisonous chemicals—particularly those in pesticides and chemical weapons. An article in the current issue of the journal ChemBioChem outlines the advancement in detoxifying organophosphates, which are compounds commonly used in pesticides and warfare agents. The patent-pending process was developed by NYU School of Engineering Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Jin Kim Montclare, along with Richard Bonneau, ...
Transplantation shown to be highly effective in treating immune deficiency in children
Babies who are born with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) can be successfully treated with a transplant of blood-forming stem cells, according to experts led by Memorial Sloan Kettering's Richard J. O'Reilly, MD, a world-renowned pioneer in the development of transplant protocols. Their review will be published in the July 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. SCID is a group of inherited disorders that cause the immune system to severely malfunction. When this breakdown occurs, babies no longer have the ability to fight off routine infections because ...
Journal supplement details progress in African medical education
Medical education in sub-Saharan Africa is being revitalized and expanded through a U.S.-funded effort that is dramatically increasing enrollment, broadening curricula, upgrading Internet access and providing cutting-edge skills labs and other technologies. In the first substantial publication by participants of the $130 million Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), more than 225 authors detailed progress being made at the African institutions. Their reports are in a supplement being published today by the journal Academic Medicine. Begun in 2010, MEPI is ...
Resistance to key malaria drug spreading at alarming rate in Southeast Asia
WHAT: Resistance to artemisinin, the main drug to treat malaria, is now widespread throughout Southeast Asia, among the Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) parasites that cause the disease and is likely caused by a genetic mutation in the parasites. However, a six-day course of artemisinin-based combination therapy—as opposed to a standard three-day course—has proved highly effective in treating drug-resistant malaria cases, according to findings published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research was conducted by an international team of scientists ...
Biologists describe mechanism promoting multiple DNA mutations
DNA mutations—long known to fuel cancer as well as evolutionary changes in a living organism—had been thought to be rare events that occur randomly throughout the genome. However, recent studies have shown that cancer development frequently involves the formation of multiple mutations that arise simultaneously and in close proximity to each other. These groups of clustered mutations are frequently found in regions where chromosomal rearrangements take place. The discovery, published in the journal Cell Reports, may one day lead to new cancer therapies, according to ...
Classic Lewis Carroll character inspires new ecological model
Inspired by the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, collaborators from the University of Illinois and National University of Singapore improved a 35-year-old ecology model to better understand how species evolve over decades to millions of years. The new model, called a mean field model for competition, incorporates the "Red Queen Effect," an evolutionary hypothesis introduced by Lee Van Valen in the 1970s, which suggests that organisms must constantly increase their fitness (or ability to survive and reproduce) in order to compete with other ever-evolving ...
Diverticulitis patients reveal psychological, physical symptoms long after acute attacks
UCLA researchers interviewed people with diverticulitis and confirmed that many suffer psychological and physical symptoms long after their acute illness has passed. For the study, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Quality of Life Research, a UCLA team led by Dr. Brennan Spiegel interviewed patients in great detail about the symptoms they experience weeks, months or even years after an acute diverticulitis attack. Their striking findings add to growing evidence that, for some patients, diverticulitis goes beyond isolated attacks and can lead to a chronic ...
Finding quantum lines of desire
Groundskeepers and landscapers hate them, but there is no fighting them. Called desire paths, social trails or goat tracks, they are the unofficial shortcuts people create between two locations when the purpose-built path doesn't take them where they want to go. There's a similar concept in classical physics called the "path of least action." If you throw a softball to a friend, the ball traces a parabola through space. It doesn't follow a serpentine path or loop the loop because those paths have higher "actions" than the true path. But what paths do quantum particles, ...
Tidal forces gave moon its shape, according to new analysis
The shape of the moon deviates from a simple sphere in ways that scientists have struggled to explain. A new study by researchers at UC Santa Cruz shows that most of the moon's overall shape can be explained by taking into account tidal effects acting early in the moon's history. The results, published July 30 in Nature, provide insights into the moon's early history, its orbital evolution, and its current orientation in the sky, according to lead author Ian Garrick-Bethell, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz. As the moon cooled and ...
Target growth-driving cells within tumors, not fastest-proliferating cells
BOSTON –– Of the many sub-groups of cells jockeying for supremacy within a cancerous tumor, the most dangerous may not be those that can proliferate the fastest, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report in a paper appearing in an advance online publication of the journal Nature. The findings have important implications for the treatment of cancer with precision medicines, the study authors explained: Doctors need to ascertain which cell subgroups are truly driving the tumor's growth and metastasis and select drugs that target the critical genes within those cells. ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:
Cancer survivors who quit smoking have 36% lower cardiovascular risk than continuers
More depressed patients than previously estimated could have increased activation of their immune system
Shedding light on the complex flow dynamics within the small intestine
UK cardiology societies issue joint policy statement to stamp out bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the specialty
Predominance of young Asian men among large UK case series of laughing gas users
Ketamine nasal spray may prove safe and effective treatment for refractory migraine
The clams that fell behind, and what they can tell us about evolution and extinction
Medical school does not equip new doctors for the real working world, junior doctor warns
Unique “bawdy bard” act discovered, revealing 15th-century roots of British comedy
Saved from extinction, Southern California’s Channel Island Foxes now face new threat to survival
Genetic change increased bird flu severity during U.S. spread
New Jersey Health Foundation awards grants to Kessler Foundation to advance research in brain and spinal cord stimulation methods
Extracting a clean fuel from water
NJIT researchers awarded $4.6m to unlock mysteries of solar eruptions
Extended lymph node removal does not benefit patients with clinically localized muscle-invasive bladder cancer
Study finds sex education tool improves reproductive health knowledge among adolescent girls
No-till revolution could stop Midwest topsoil loss in its tracks
Computational method uncovers the effects of mutations in the noncoding genome
Extreme precipitation in northeast to increase 52% by the end of the century
Lung infection may be less transmissible than thought
Experimental decoy protects against SARS-CoV-2 infection
Light conveyed by the signal transmitting molecule sucrose controls growth of plant roots
Mitigating climate change through restoration of coastal ecosystems
Flexible nanoelectrodes can provide fine-grained brain stimulation
Teens with irregular sleep patterns have higher risk of school problems
Genetic risk information may help people avoid alcohol addiction
Advances in technology are driving popularity of EVs
Newborns with higher hair cortisol levels take longer to fall asleep
That’s not nuts: Almond milk yogurt packs an overall greater nutritional punch than dairy-based
Using AI to create better, more potent medicines[Press-News.org] Research proves there is power in numbers to reduce electricity bills
Consumers can save money on their electricity bills and negotiate better deals by joining forces