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MPEL Seminar

Optimal Energy Rationing for Prepaid Electricity Customers

Maitreyee MarathePhD student in Electrical EngineeringUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
3427 EECS BuildingMap
For a large and recently increasing number of households, affordability is a major hurdle in accessing sufficient electricity and avoiding service disconnections. For such households, in-home energy rationing, i.e. the need to actively prioritize how to use a limited amount of electricity, is an everyday reality. In this work, we consider a particularly vulnerable group of customers, namely prepaid electricity customers, who are required to pay for their electricity a-priori, similar to a prepaid phone plan. With this group of customers in mind, we present an optimization-based energy management framework to effectively use a limited budget and avoid the disruptions and fees associated with disconnections. The framework considers forecasts of future use to help customers prioritize and limit use of low-priority loads, with the goal of extending access to their critical loads. Importantly, the proposed management system has minimal requirements in terms of in-home hardware and remote communication, lending itself well to adoption across different regions and utility programs. We test this framework on real-world energy usage data and demonstrate that by considering both current and future electricity consumption and more effectively managing access to low-priority loads, the proposed framework increases the value provided to customers and avoids disconnections.
Maitreyee Marathe is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Energy Analysis and Policy, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison advised by Prof. Line Roald and Prof. Giri Venkataramanan. Her research interests include developing energy access solutions in resource-constrained settings such as remote microgrids, solar home systems, and home energy management systems for low-income customers. Her research is informed by fieldwork and community-engaged energy access projects. She is a part of the Wisconsin Power Systems research group and the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium.

Faculty Host

Johanna MathieuAssociate ProfessorUniversity of Michigan