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.