Conference paper

There is concern that rising electricity prices in Western Australia have a particular impact on the standard of living for those with fixed incomes. One group thought to be particularly affected are senior citizens. This paper describes a trial that assessed the impact of SMS tips and voltage optimisation units (VOU) on the ability of low-income, senior citizen households to conserve energy. Baseline electricity consumption data was collected during 2014, and in 2015 electricity use interventions were conducted in 127 households. Three electricity saving approaches were trialled: 1) behaviour change tips, 2) tips with the addition of personalised feedback, and 3) VOU in addition to tips with feedback. A factorial between groups analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that the impact of the interventions was affected by the presence of solar photovoltaic (solar-PV). Results show that for households without solar-PV, there was no significant change in electricity use for any of the conditions. For households with solar-PV, the interventions appeared to have an accumulative effect. A survey of respondent attitudes after the trial revealed that despite the perception that seniors would not take well to technological communications, participants indicated that they preferred SMS over other forms of communication.

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