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Social Electricity: Energy Awareness through Social Comparisons
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Social Electricity: Energy Awareness through Social Comparisons


Social Electricity is a Facebook application that aims to make citizens aware of their electrical energy consumption, by means of comparisons with the corresponding electrical consumption of their …

Social Electricity is a Facebook application that aims to make citizens aware of their electrical energy consumption, by means of comparisons with the corresponding electrical consumption of their friends, as well as with the total consumption in the street / neighbourhood / village / city / country where they live. By effective and realistic comparisons, the consumers may perceive their energy behaviour and take steps to reduce their electricity and carbon footprint. Moreover, people may view statistics concerning the areas with the least/most energy consumption in their neighborhood, province or even the whole of Cyprus.

These slides have been presented by Andreas Kamilaris during the 2nd ITU Green Standards Week, in Paris, France, on 19 September 2012, in an award ceremony for the best and most innovative Concept Paper for a “Sustainable Energy for All” ICT application. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Social Electricity presents high interest due to its innovation, usefulness and smart design. It constitutes a research project of the Computer Science Department, University of Cyprus, in collaboration with the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), aiming to motivate people to become more aware of their electricity consumption. Social Electricity is an innovative initiative worldwide and has recently been awarded the first prize in the 2nd ITU Green ICT Application Challenge (

Social Electricity is available at the link You must have a Facebook account in order to use it and register a valid P.O. code in Cyprus (4-digit codes like 2302). You can LIKE our FB page to be informed about latest news of the project (

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  • 1. Social Electricity Energy Awareness through Social ComparisonsDr. Andreas KamilarisDept. of Computer Science, University of CyprusJoint Coordination Activity on ICT and Climate Change 5th February, 2013ITU Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2. Problem Statement In most European countries, including Cyprus, people receive an electricity bill once every month. It is not easy for them to perceive their electricity footprint, i.e. to understand whether their consumption is low, medium or high.Citizens need an effective way to realize the“semantics” of their electrical consumption!
  • 3. MotivationSocial Norms“People tend to follow what other people do andadapt their behaviour and practices according tothe stimuli received by their friends, relatives andneighbours”.“Social norms can motivate people to questiontheir attitude, if they discover it is not ”normal”. “Social influence is an important factor that motivates people to change their lifestyles”. “People are willing and capable to adapt their behaviour to energy-saving lifestyles if given the necessary feedback, support, and incentives”.
  • 4. General IdeaEnergy Awareness through Social Comparisons Social comparisons may enable people to perceive the amounts of their consumed electrical energy, by comparing it with their social and local environment! Online social networking sites constitute promising platforms to locate people and discover their social networks.
  • 5. Social ElectricitySocial Electricity Facebook application helps Cypriot citizens to understand theirconsumed energy, through comparisons with their own neighbourhood and theironline friends! Electricity data is real and accurate, provided by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus. Electrical information is aggregated in neighbourhood level (PO code, street).
  • 6. Data Volume300,000 domestic premises2-month periods 2-year historical information 7.200,000 electricity measurements
  • 7. Features IPersonal Comparisons: Compare your own electricity footprint with the averageamount of electricity consumed at your neighbourhood, village/town or the wholeof Cyprus.
  • 8. Features IISocial Comparisons: Compare the electrical consumption at your street with thatconsumed by the streets of your friends, who are tagged on the map of Cypruswhere they live.
  • 9. Features IIILocation-based Statistics: Observe the most and least energy efficient streets inyour neighbourhood as well as the most and least energy efficient areas andvillages around Cyprus.
  • 10. Features IVHistorical Comparisons: Compare the energy behaviour of your street in previousmonths or at the same month in previous years. Make this comparison more socialby including the energy behaviour of your friends’ streets.
  • 11. Some Initial FactsThe application started officially at 1st August 2012.More than 1,000 users after 6 months, 1,400 likes on our Facebook page.Eponymous supporters like the Cyprus Interior Minister Mrs Eleni Mavrou andthe Commissioner for the Environment Mr Charalambos Theopemptou.The most popular group of users (39%) is between 25-34 years old. Youngerpeople between 18-24 are also highly interested (32%).65% of users live in an urban environment, 28% in the suburb,17% in rural areas.48% of users live in the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia.
  • 12. Some Initial FactsExtensive reportages and publicity in large media of Cyprus (TVchannels, radio channels, newspapers, magazines, online blogs).
  • 13. Some Initial FactsFirst prize award at the 2nd Green ICT Application Challenge, organizedby the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
  • 14. Initial Evaluation• Via questionnaires. 178 subjects. 44% found the app very useful. 36% found it just useful. 55% were affected positively to become more energy-aware. 16% believed their energy consumption was high. 78% perceived their “energy profile” through the app. 62% claimed their consumption was reduced in regard to last year. 57% are aware of their “green” and “red” friends. 48% used the app from curiosity. 71% for environmental reasons. 71% for financial reasons. 14% for responsibility as a citizen. Most popular incentive for energy reduction is discount on the bill. 38% believe the app will be more useful in a few years. 64% believe the app will reduce their consumption more than 10%.
  • 15. Current Work A newsletter sent by email to the users of the application every two months, to inform them about their electricity footprint, comparing it with their local and social environment.
  • 16. Current WorkMobile applications for mobile Facebook users.
  • 17. Current Work More effective electrical comparisons between people that share common house preferences (e.g. home size, number of residents, heat type).
  • 18. Next StepsAccess to Social Electricity bypeople who do not have Facebookthrough a Web site that offerslocation-based statistics andgeneral information to Cypriotconsumers of electricity. More effective statistics including a colour map of Cyprus according to the electric behaviour in different areas of the country. Discussion for building-specific statistics.
  • 19. Next Steps Privacy of electricity dataNeighborhood Data House Data Electrical Appliances Data 10% 6% 3% 1% Me 5% 15% 3% 17% 19% 25% Family 20% 24% 26% Members 35% 20% Relatives 19% 32% 20% Close Friends
  • 20. Next StepsCircles of Privacy
  • 21. Envisioning the Future By 2020, the 80% of houses in Europe need to be equipped with smart meters.Social Electricity can be extended into a real-time platform forelectrical energy awareness and electricity-related comparisons.Electrical energy competitions between friends, neighbourhoodsand areas in real-time.Awards to energy-efficient citizens and locations.Financial motives to individuals, organizationsand municipalities to save energy.
  • 22. Envisioning the FutureEnergy awareness through comparisons of electrical energy betweenneighbours, friends and citizens of other EU countries.
  • 23. Thank you!For comments/suggestions/feedback you canemail me on