A further paper from the ESRC funded Census2022 project has just been published in the Computers, Environment and Urban Systems journal.
Entitled “Electricity consumption and household characteristics: Implications for census-taking in a smart metered future”, the paper briefly reviews the nature of current and future census taking in the UK before outlining the household characteristics that are to be found in the UK census and which are also known to influence electricity load profiles.
The paper then uses the Irish CER electricity smart meter trial data to test the feasibility of inferring household attributes from consumption data. The results suggest that standard profile indicators can be used to predict employment status.

Mean half-hourly electricity consumption per half hour (Tuesday – Thursday) by self-reported employment status of household response person.
Source: Authors’ calculation using Irish CER Smart Meter Trial data October 2009 (n = 3488).


The paper also experiments with profile-based clusters and also indicators of ‘habitual behaviour’ but finds that these do not add substantially to the power of the predictive models if household size and the presence of children is known from other sources (such as administrative data). However where such sources do not exist (or are not accessible to the analyst), the profile indicators offered a degree of predictive potential especially when membership of twenty four hour demand profile clusters was included.