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Potential of Residential Demand Flexibility – Italian

Scenario
Intisar A. Sajjad, Gianfranco Chicco, Majid Aziz
Energy Department
Politecnico di Torino
Torino, Italy
malik.sajjad@polito.it
Akhtar Rasool
Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Sabanci University
Istanbul, Turkey
akhtar@sabanciuniv.edu


Abstract— Aggregator in a microgrid is responsible for its
secure and economic operation. As far as system economics is
concerned, there are many factors upon which energy cost is
dependent, for example peak demand rates and penalties due to
violations in energy purchase contracts. Extra charges due to
high energy demand and contract violation penalties can be
avoided using demand side flexibility. Demand side flexibility has
many benefits in normal as well as emergency conditions like less
cost and quick response. Residential loads are the major part to
be supplied and have 7 days and 24 hour availability for flexible
operation. This paper presents the potential for effective use of
demand flexibility from residential customers for peak reduction.
Demand flexibilities are calculated with Monte Carlo Simulation
using probabilistic data of Italian households. Different scenarios
are generated to demonstrate the effectiveness of flexibility in
residential sector.
Keywords— demand side flexibility; microgrid; peak demand;
demand response; Monte Carlo simulation.
I. INTRODUCTION
The current picture of advancements in electrical power
system is characterized by the appearance of several aspects.
These aspects are linked to modernization of the infrastructure
for electricity generation, delivery and utilization at different
scales. This evolving framework has been indicated under the
common terminology of smart grid, which incorporates the
actions tending to augment the application of microgrids at the
local scale [1,2].
The demand of electric power is non-uniform and uneven
in different time slots of a day. During the peak hours it is
much higher than rest of the day. Typically the peak demand is
observed in a specific time slot during morning and evening.
Power system has a specific generation capacities as well as
transmission and distribution network loading constraints.
These constraints have led to biggest problems in the past. It is
more feasible to shift peak demand from peak hours to off peak
hours.
In particular, one of the aspects of key interest is the
evolving role of the consumers. The passive role of customers
as price taker is under progressive transition towards an active
one, where the customers can participate in the decision
making process. This decision making can be based on cost
minimization and social welfare maximization.
New emerging technologies related to communication and
control have the capability to change the utility defined
equation into a consumer- (user-) defined equation. These
emerging tools are being commercialized rapidly and have
ability to maintain comfort, security, reliability both in
commercial as well as residential sectors. Many companies are
starting business in these innovative technologies and soon will
be available commercially to everyone at low costs [3, 4]. On
the economic side, the pricing mechanisms and the electricity
markets rules have been sided by extensive rulemaking from
the regulatory authorities.
Many developed countries have much experience of load
management. In the U.S., the demand side management started
in 1970s due to the beginning of oil crises [5]. Different load
management systems DSM programs are presented in [6] and
[7] to give bird’s eye view on past developments.
The demand side is now participating in the evolution of
the electricity provision from different perspectives. The DR
options are Interruptible Load Management (ILM), Direct
Load Control (DLC) and Real Time Pricing (RTP) [8]. The
extent of demand participation can be considered in the
perspective of system operation in normal conditions, or in the
occurrence of emergency conditions. The current terminology
considers price-based and incentive-based demand response
(DR). For peak shaving, aggregator needs demand flexibility.
This is just like spinning reserve in power system but it has
advantage that it only needs to be paid when it is required.
Customers participating in DR programs have additional
benefit that they will pay less for monthly electricity bills.
This paper focuses on DR and describes the importance and
potential of the residential sector for participation in incentive
programs during peak management in a micro grid scenario.
But in general the actions considered can be implemented in
smart grid scenarios. Actual probabilistic data of Italian
households are used to model the problem for assessing
demand flexibility.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section II
gives an insight into the statistics of energy usage share about
the Italian residential sector. Section III gives detail about load
models of different flexible appliances that are used in this
paper for analysis. Section IV explains different scenarios
adopted for analyzing DR programs. Section V deals with the
implementation of Monte Carlo simulation for statistical
calculations. Section VI summarizes the simulation results and
comments on case study observations. Section VII concludes
the results and explains future extensions of this work.
II. RESIDENTIAL DEMAND FLEXIBILITY AND ITALIAN
STATISTICS
In a household, the overall electricity demand is the sum of
power consumption of all individual appliances. These
appliances can be grouped in different classes according to
their use and behavior. In [9] and [10] the appliances have
been categorized into cold, wet, brown, cooking, lighting and
miscellaneous groups. Examples of cold appliances are
refrigerator and freezer. Wet appliances are washing machine
and dishwasher. Brown appliances are TV, audio and video.
Loads can also be classified as flexible or non-flexible. In [11]
the appliances are grouped based on this criterion, with groups
indicated as critical and non-critical. Critical loads are those
appliances that cannot be shifted in time and amount.
Operation of such appliances directly affects the customer’s
comfort. Some of the examples for this group of appliances
are audio, video, cooking, and lighting. Operation of these
appliances is non-flexible in nature. Other category is non-
critical loads, which are flexible in terms of shifting in time
and amount, e.g., washing machine, air conditioning,
refrigeration, and dishwashing.
It is important to take a look at individual load that can
contribute in peak shaving or economic operation of a
microgrid. The percentage share of electricity consumption for
different appliances in an average Italian household is shown
in Fig. 1. Data is taken from the Remodece European project
[12]. The first three categories marked in Fig. 1 are more
flexible in operation compared with the last two categories
and have a total share of approximately 47% in electricity
consumption. Appliances from these three categories are
modeled and used for peak shaving.

Fig. 1. Percentage share of electricity consumption for different appliances in
an average Italian household [12].
According to the statistics of Enerdata, the total energy
consumption in the Italian residential sector is 56,621
TWh/annum, and approximately 20,292 TWh of this energy is
consumed in large appliances like refrigerator, freezer,
washing machine, dishwasher, dryer, etc. [13]. Stock of flats
with electric space heating is very small compared with the
space heating with combined gas, oil, wood products or
district heating. The total stock of residential buildings was
28,690 till 2008 [13] district heating.
III. APPLIANCE MODELS
Parameters of Customer’s behavior for the use of
appliances are very much important in appliance modeling.
Some of these parameters are: frequency of use and start up
times of different appliances. Another important factor in
calculating the average household profile is the penetration
levels of different appliances. This type of data is collected for
Italian household customers from the Remodece project [12,
13]. Important appliance modeling parameters are:
 Typical load profile of appliance
 Probability of use
 Probability of time of use
 Ownership rate of appliance
Data about individual appliance ownership rates
(penetration level) and probability of use are listed in Table I.
TABLE I. RESIDENTIAL SECTOR OWNERSHIP RATE FOR FLEXIBLE LOADS [11]
Sr. # Appliance Ownership Rate (%)
1. Refrigerator 99.10
2. Freezer 33.15
3. Washing Machine 97.2
4. Dishwashers 42.5
5. Air Conditioner 30.6

Four types of flexible load are used to assess flexibility
margins (refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, and
cooling/heating). As little amount of probabilistic data about
cooling/heating was available from Remodece project (not
enough to model such loads for peak shaving), this category of
load has not been used to calculate the flexibility margins.
Washing machine is typically used in each household and
its occupancy level is about 97.2% with two washing cycles
per week. Power demand and duration of different washing
modes is listed in Table II. Operating modes are selected
randomly but starting time of washing machine cycle is
extracted using probability of start parameter. This parameter
is calculated using the historical data available in the
Remodece project.
TABLE II. PHASES AND DURATION OF CLOTHES WASHING CYCLE
Sr.
#
Phases of
Washing Cycle
Peak
Power
(W)
Duration
(% of total cycle duration)
Mode 1 Mode 2 Mode 3
1. Water pumping 5 3 3 3
2. Heating and soaking 1850 17 0 17
3. Washing 1 150 14 14 14
4.
Optional
water heating
1850 02 0 02
5. Washing 2 150 22 22 22
6. Rinsing 200 35 35 35
7. Total cycle duration (hours) 2 1 1

On a similar fashion, dishwasher and refrigerator are
modeled and modeling parameters are listed in Table III and
Table IV, respectively. Average heating/cooling data is used
for a household and it is not modeled in a fashion as other
flexible appliances. Characteristic load curves of individual
appliances is shown in Fig. 2 to Fig. 4.
500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600
1800
Time of Day (Min.)
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 2. Operating characteristics of the washing Machine (Mode 1)
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
Hours of Day
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 3. Operating characteristics of refrigerator.
650 700 750 800 850 900
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600
Time of Day (Min.)
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 4. Operating characteristics of a dishwasher.
TABLE III. PHASES AND DURATION OF DISHWASHER WASHING CYCLE
Sr.
#
Phase
Duration
(Min.)
Peak Power
(W)
1. Cycle time 75 1600
2. 1
st
Washing Phase 25 1600
3. 2
nd
Washing Phase 30 1600
4.
Idle Phase
(Between Washing Phases)
20 50
TABLE IV. PHASES AND DURATION OF REFRIGERATOR CYCLE
Sr. # Parameters Description
1. Duty Cycle (Normal) 0.4
2. Duty Cycle (Peak hours) 0.3
3. On time Power 150 W
4. Off time Power 0 W
IV. DEMAND RESPONSE MODES
The following modes are used to generate DR scenarios:
 Mode 1: no load rescheduling
 Mode 2: load rescheduling just before peak hours
 Mode 3: load rescheduling just after peak hours
 Mode 4: load rescheduling just after or before peak
hours
 Mode 5: random load rescheduling except peak hours

Mode 1 is the original customer’s behavior without any
load shifting or rescheduling. Mode 2 and Mode 3 are the
extreme cases when the DR program for load reduction sends
requests to all the customers to shift their loads and the
customers reschedule all the selected appliances before the start
or after the end of peak hours. Those DR programs may be
DLC based or any other incentive based programs [14].
However, asking the customers to shift their loads only before
the peak load it is not expected that all the customers will
respond in the same way, as some customers could decide to
shift their load after the peak load conditions (and vice versa if
they are asked to shift their load only after the peak load
conditions). As such, Mode 4 is a less extreme case with the
probability of shift the flexible appliances before or after peak
hours. This also may happen for a group of customers inside a
microgrid. So it is better related to some real behavior. Here
the probability of shifting of appliances before or after the peak
load conditions can be generally considered to be equally
likely. Mode 5 is a more generalized one for the behavior of an
aggregation where load shifting is different for each customer.
Each customer selects the time for load shifting time according
to his/her needs. In this paper, the starting time for rescheduled
operation of appliances is selected randomly.
V. MONTE CARLO SIMULATION
Monte Carlo Simulation is a large class of computational
algorithms and random samples are used to obtain numerical
results. These types of simulations are often used in problems
like: system optimization, sample generation from particular
probability distribution of data, numerical integration etc. [15-
17]. These algorithms are very useful to apply on systems
having large coupled degree of freedom and uncertainty in
input data.
Since there is randomness in the selection of different
parameters and input data is uncertain, Monte Carlo
Simulation is used to get a reasonable guess of 24 hours power
usage patterns for flexible loads.
The load models for the selected appliances are defined as
explained in Section III.

A. Control Parameters:
The control parameters used in the Monte Carlo
simulation are the sampling time, the number of repetitions for
Monte Carlo simulation, the peak load hours and their
duration, the probability of use per day for different
appliances. These control parameters are initialized with some
pre-determined values, as summarized in Table V.
TABLE V. CONTROL PARAMETERS FOR MONTE CARLO SIMULATION
Sr. # Parameters Description
1. Number of repetitions 5000
2. Peak load time 6 pm -10 pm
3. Sampling time 1 minute
4.
Probability
of use
Washing machine 2 cycles/week
Dishwasher 1 cycle/day
Refrigerator continuous
B. Simulation Algorithm
The following procedure is used for calculations using
Monte Carlo simulation:
1. Initialize control parameters
2. Load consumption patterns of different appliances
3. Monte Carlo Simulation until no. of repetitions
a. Initialize simulation parameters
b. Calculate Load profiles of individual
appliances
i. Calculations for probability of start
of appliance
ii. Select operation mode of appliance
iii. Select DR mode
iv. Apply (i) – (iii) to calculate the
appliance characteristic power
usage pattern for 24 hours
v. Repeat (i) to (iv) for all selected
appliances
c. Calculate aggregated load pattern for all
selected appliances using results from (b)
4. Apply statistical tools to analyze results
5. Save results
6. Terminate
Some results for the aggregation of the demand of washing
machines, refrigerators and dishwashers are shown in Fig. 5,
Fig. 6 and Fig. 7, respectively. The aggregated profile of each
appliance is shown with an aggregation of 5000 customers. It
is possible to see that washing machines and dishwashers have
some peaks, leading to some potential of driving changes to
their usage through DR actions, while little room for DR
actions appears for the refrigerators. However, considering
that most of the washing machine load comes at mid-day and
very less in the evening (peak demand hours), a DR action
will never require to shift the washing machine load during
peak demand hours, and as such there is little room also for
shifting washing machines to smoothen the demand curve.
Finally, dishwashers appear as the most promising load to be
shifted, since their peak load appears during the overall peak
load hours. However, shifting this type of load would require a
significant change in the habits of the customers.
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
x 10
4
Hours of Day
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 5. Aggregate demand of washing machines for 5000 customers.
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
x 10
5
Hours of Day
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 6. Aggregate demand of refrigerators for 5000 customers.
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
x 10
5
Hours of Day
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 7. Aggregate demand of dishwashers for 5000 customers.
VI. CASE STUDY APPLICATIONS
Results of the case studies are summarized in Table VI and
shown in Fig. 8 to Fig. 12. One case study for each mode
introduced in Section IV has been run. It can be noted from
Table VI that the average daily demand of selected loads is
approximately 128 W, which is similar for all case studies and
validates the bulk of simulation results.
Fig. 8 shows the situation occurring when no DR action is
applied. The overall peak demand for the aggregation of
refrigerators, washing machines an dishwashers appears in the
peak load hours for the overall residential load. Hence, the DR
actions considered in the various modes are applied to show
the potential of each of these actions due to the rescheduling
effect of the appliances.
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
Hours of Day
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 8. Initial specific demand pattern (per customer) for refrigerators,
washing machines and dishwashers, Mode 1
The extreme case scenarios for shifting the demand in
Mode 2 (anticipation of the shiftable load just before the peak
hours) and Mode 3 (moving the shiftable load just after the
peak load hours) are shown in Fig. 9 and Fig. 10, respectively.
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
Hours of Day
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 9. Specific demand pattern (per customer) for refrigerators, washing
machines and dishwashers, DR Mode 2.

A noticeable change in peak demand can be seen from
Mode 1 to Mode 2 and Mode 3. This change is very high due
to the load accumulation effect at time slots after and before
peak demand hours. Of course, this effect is a very drastic
change and it may not be advisable to get it; the plots have
been introduced to provide a quantitative indication of the
load shifting in these extreme cases.
The results for Mode 4 and Mode 5 are presented in Fig.
11 and Fig, 12, respectively. Percentage peak and average load
reduction in selected peak demand time is same for all cases
but more important is the overall 24 hours behavior, which,
indeed, is very significant for Mode 5. The overall
smoothening effect is better for this mode. In Mode 4, only the
combined effect of moving the load before or after the peak
loads is considered, which again is limiting with respect to the
expected results of well-designed DR actions.
In Mode 5, Table VI shows that up to 33% of energy
demand can be shifted for selected flexible appliances during
peak demand hours by only properly utilizing refrigerator,
washing machine, and dishwasher.
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
Hours of Day
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 10. Specific demand pattern (per customer) for refrigerators, washing
machines and dishwashers, DR Mode 3.
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
Hours of Day
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 11. Specific demand pattern (per customer) for refrigerators, washing
machines and dishwashers, DR Mode 4.
TABLE VI. SUMMARY OF DIFFERENT CASES USING MONTE CARLO SIMULATION
DR
Mode #
Description
24 Hours Demand Peak Hours Demand Reduction
Peak
(W)
Average
(W)
Peak
(W).
Average
(W)
Peak
(W)
%
Average
(W)
%
1. No load rescheduling 202.73 128.69 202.73 183.72 - - - -
2. Just before peak hours 327.66 126.42 131.38 121.88 71.35 35.2 61.84 33.7
3. Just after peak hours 305.83 125.08 132.85 123.65 69.88 34.5 60.07 32.7
4.
Just before or after
peak hours
226.06 126.01 133.30 123.24 69.43 34.2 60.48 33.1
5.
At any time except
peak hours
198.36 125.47 134.46 124.12 68.27 33.7 59.60 32.4


0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
Hours of Day
D
e
m
a
n
d

(
W
)

Fig. 12. Specific demand pattern (per customer) for refrigerators, washing
machines and dishwashers, DR Mode 5.
VII. CONCLUSIONS
The residential consumer’s energy usage behavior has been
modeled using Monte Carlo simulations to estimate the
demand side flexibility potential for peak demand reduction. It
can be concluded from above results that about 33% of demand
flexibility can be utilized easily by only using three common
appliances. The impact of this flexibility has to be analyzed
with respect to the overall load pattern of the aggregate
residential consumers. The contribution of the three appliances
presented in this paper has to be seen as a portion of the total
aggregate residential load. In this light, also changes such as
the ones indicated in Mode 2, Mode 3 and Mode 4 could
assume the role of limit conditions for the aggregate load
variation near the peak load conditions. Direct load control
programs or incentive based programs can be used for
achieving flexibility margins during regular operation as well
as in emergency conditions. This kind of study can be further
extended for different topological and geographical based
consumers to assess their flexibility potential.
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