The situation

The transition towards net-zero emissions is leading to an increasing reliance on electricity. Research by Concept Consulting suggests electric vehicles and hot water will provide almost 90% of the potential for flexibility from consumer appliances. However, most consumers are unaware of the existing or
future value of flexibility or how this impacts their power bill.

Recent reports by Boston Consulting Group and Electricity Authority Market Development Advisory Group have emphasised the need for tariff and technology innovation to ensure customers have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about electricity use and demand-side flexibility.

What we explored

In response to these challenges, the concept for Resi-Flex was initiated by Orion in March 2022 through its Innovation Pipeline. The project aims to incentivise flexibility from residential consumers by exploring commercial mechanisms in collaboration with flexibility stakeholders. Building on connections through the FlexForum, Orion and Wellington Electricity partnered on the project to drive progress, leverage shared resources and expertise, and develop scalable insight.

The ongoing Resi-Flex project is taking a learning-by-doing and exploratory approach. It started by discovering user requirements from various perspectives across the flexibility value chain including consumers, flexibility stakeholders, and distribution network companies. These insights have informed the development of commercial mechanisms that could incentivise greater use of flexibility resources in the future.

The next step in the project is to partner with flexibility suppliers to co-design customer offerings based on the selected commercial mechanisms and trial these with consumers.

Desired outcomes

Resi-Flex is providing insight on residential flexibility to inform the design of trials and supports steps in the FlexForum’s Flexibility Plan. The trials will inform the effectiveness of different solutions and which ones to scale.  Ultimately, this will create opportunities for residential consumers to provide flexibility, while supporting equitable outcomes for all consumers.