Systematic Review of Consumer Attitudes towards Voltage Quality: Scoping Note

14 Apr 2015

In the future there may be increasing strain on the distribution network delivering electricity to consumers. This strain arises through increased demand for domestic electricity (driven by electric vehicles and electric heat pumps) and as increased penetration of domestic solar photovoltaic creates electricity flows traveling back up the distribution network. Many of the options to mitigate this strain on the network require costly network upgrades, but there is also the potential to ‘free up’ capacity in the distribution network by relaxing the existing limits placed on the voltage of domestic electricity. This is potentially a low cost option. 

Existing literature suggests that a wider range of domestic electricity voltage is technically feasible with only limited impact on consumers. While feasible from an engineering perspective, it is possible that a proportion of consumers may experience increased failure or malfunction of electronic devices. Given this potential it is unclear whether consumers will accept change to UK voltage regulations.

In order to understand likely consumer responses to change in domestic voltage quality it may help to explore the available evidence on public attitudes to voltage quality, and other aspects of changing electricity provision.

Dr Jamie Speirs is the key contact.