Enabling or ‘set-and-forget’ technologies, such as smart home control devices, are increasingly being advocated by the energy industry, policy makers and researchers as a way to complement and improve residential demand response. While Australia has pioneered trials of enabling technologies, less attention has been paid to ‘off-the-shelf’ devices, such as smart lights, smart plugs/ switches and home automation products.
As increasing attention and expectation is placed on these technologies to enable consumers to navigate the changing energy market, it is imperative to consider the opportunities and challenges these devices present. This report outlines the findings and recommendations from the Smart Home Control project, funded by Energy Consumers Australia.
The project explored the potential for enabling technologies, such as smart home control devices, to assist households in managing or reducing their energy demand in response to changing market reforms in the Australian residential electricity sector. It focused on the benefits and detriments of smart home control for ‘energy vulnerable’ and ‘regular’ households.
The research was conducted in three stages from July 2016 to May 2017, and included a trial of off-the-shelf smart home control devices in 46 households in Victoria and South Australia.