Extreme weather and changing patterns of electricity use have led to blackouts and unpredictable utility bills across the nation.
To address that unpredictability, Cornell researchers are piloting a new payment plan and an app that would provide consumers with more information about their energy use and incentives to reduce use, while also allowing utility companies to respond more nimbly in times of crisis. Avangrid, the parent company of New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG), is an initial partner.
“We have all been consuming electricity since we were born, but we don’t know how we consume electricity,” said Madhur Srivastava, assistant research professor in chemistry and chemical biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. “We have no understanding of how much electricity each appliance uses, for example, or each light bulb, or how the costs change for a particular time of use. How can we change our behavior if we have no analysis of it?”
Srivastava approached the problem of fluctuating energy bills like he does all his research – with the community in mind.
An Engaged Opportunity Grant from the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement jumpstarted the project.