Electricity consumption has steadily increased in the last two decades and is further projected to increase nearly eight times by 2050. Over the past couple of years, there has been a huge surge in the demand by domestic customers which makes it important to undertake innovative demand-side management measures to address these challenges of increased consumption in urban areas.

Tata Centre for Development (TCD) at UChicago, Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC-India), and University of Chicago Urban Labs has partnered with TIDE and World Resources Institute (WRI) India, with the guidance of BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company) to implement and evaluate the program called ‘VR Lite’. This project was one of the winning ideas in the Bengaluru Innovation Challenge—a joint initiative of TCD and the Urban Development Department of the Government of Karnataka. While such studies have been undertaken in developed countries, there is no such large scale study in any developing country and one that involves no interaction with the consumer.

‘VR Lite’ will target domestic consumers in one selected sub-division of BESCOM in Bengaluru city. TIDE and WRI (India) will nudge customers to bring about behaviour change by providing them reports at regular intervals. These reports would include a comparison of their consumption patterns based on their monthly bills and recommendations to save. It is aimed at reducing electricity consumption in households and to facilitate long term behaviour change.

This aims to build awareness and attempt to tweak people’s behaviour towards electricity consumption. This intervention will cover about 10-15k households and will use monthly consumption data provided by BESCOM, with no interaction with the consumers directly. This program aims to bring about change with no technological fixes or inconveniences to the consumers, an easy fix to one of the pressing problems today.


Project Partners

Tata Centre for Development at UChicago

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The Tata Centre for Development at UChicago develops innovative, integrated approaches to tackling some of India’s most pressing development issues. With generous support from the Tata Trusts, the Tata Centre combines implementation, research and executive education to execute ambitious pilots, evaluate new solutions, and spread insights to key decision-makers who can translate research findings and successful pilots into wider impact. The Centre is housed at the Harris School of Public Policy in Chicago and the University of Chicago Trust in India.

Energy & Environment Lab

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The Energy & Environment Lab brings together policymakers, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropists to take a collaborative approach to improving the environment and ensuring access to reliable and affordable energy. We use natural experiments, randomized controlled trials, behavioral economics, and machine learning to help policymakers identify and generate evidence around innovative approaches to their most pressing environmental and energy-related challenges. In addition, we seek to build a portfolio of new knowledge about the key tools that policymakers have to impact environment and energy outcomes: behavior, pricing, and regulation.

World Resources Institute- India

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WRI India is a research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being.

TIDE (Technology Informatics Design Endeavour)

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TIDE (Technology Informatics Design Endeavour) is a development organisation that leverages technology for conserving the environment, creating livelihoods and addressing societal issues. TIDE’s work encompasses energy access and biomass-based cooking solutions, energy conservation, and renewable energy promotion, Environment management and advocacy, and Technology based on innovative livelihoods, particularly with focus on rural women.

Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM)

BESCOM is responsible for Power distribution in Eight districts of Karnataka (Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Chikkaballapura, Kolar, Davanagere, Tumkur, Chitradurga and Ramanagara). BESCOM covers an area of 41,092 Sq. Kms. with a population of over 207 lakhs