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Demand Side Management in the UK

Demand side management is a term used to refer to the strategic measures put in place to reduce the levels of energy consumptions. DSM policies and programs targets cost reduction through the accumulation of funds over a period of time, the funds are then used to cut off future demands on energy as well as to cut off and decrease the peak time demands. It’s more of a long-term project since it needs some time to be effective. Upon efficient accumulation of funds, the DSM programs are utilized; the main goal is reduction of power consumption from the side of the power users. The strategies are deemed good as they help the whole country cut on energy consumption hence impacting positively on the energy departments. This help the consumers lower their bills on energy hence lesser possibilities for disconnection, there is also an improvement to the quality of services given to the clients consuming energy, cuts on the pollution arising from various energy usages, and also helps in increasing employment opportunities (Katz, 2010, p. 87).

Demand Side Management in the UK is designed to cut on energy consumption rates by reducing utility production of energy. It helps in increasing the quality of service to consumers since there are few energy failures and attending to emergency power issues is enhanced in a swift manner. DSM positively impacts on the economy, environment and on energy reliability in the country (Cappers P, 2010, p. 58). To heighten the benefits of DSM it’s important that its strategies be applied in all sectors of energy. This means that DSM should lay its focus on all energy sources and not just on the electricity energy. This paper seeks to critically analyze the Demand Side Management strategies in the UK, looking into what drives these strategies as well as the barriers/ challenges encountered in running and implementation of these strategies. There are various demand side management policies and strategies that have evolved due to the costs of energy, the climatic changes and environmental issues which have currently faced the UK and the entire world as a whole. The paper will lay focus on three demand side management strategies, which are; distributed generation, demand reduction, and demand response.

These policies and strategies involves; the demand response, distributed generation, and the demand reduction .These energy policies help UK and the world cut on energy costs as well on the amount of gasses emitted to the environment hence assist in meeting the 2050 vision of cutting the overall greenhouses gasses emissions by 50% to help save the deteriorating climate as a result of climatic change brought about by the energy pollution of the environment. The case in the UK is different from that of other nations as the imposition of energy control measures poses diverse challenges which hinder the entire Demand Side Management strategies (Tooraj Jamasb, 2011, p. 34).

Three Demand Side Management Strategies

Demand management policies have been put in place to help overcome the barriers and challenges faced by the Demand Side Management. Demand Side Management is administered by various institution which includes; the not for profit organizations and the Federal government in the country, as well as by the utilities present. The popular demand side management strategies are; the demand response, distributed generation, and the demand reduction. Globally, most energy is consumed by the buildings and households, in the UK for instance, buildings alone accounts for over 30% of the total energy consumed (Lund, Lindgren, Mikkola, & Salpakari, 2015, pp. 785-789). This clearly shows that control of the residential energy consumption is of paramount. Effective management of the three strategies will improve on energy departments in the UK.

Demand response refers to a process through which energy consumers are given incentives in form of money to adjust their energy consumption and electricity usages; this is done during the peak hours when energy demand is very high. Consumption rate reduction by all energy consumers results to a decrease in the total voltages consumed hence saving energy. Demand response, therefore, is a strategy aiding the reduction of the overall impacts of energy demand during peak seasons when more energy is required (Greenblatt & Long, 2012, p. 59).

To achieve Demand response UK uses strategies that turn reduce the demand as well as through the energy demands shifts by consumers during such times. Demand response helps a country by creating reliable and affordable electricity supply; the demand response also ensures sustainable energy supply at all periods. Demand responses give energy consumers a sense of responsibility; consumers develop the desires to control their energy usage behaviors.

The strategy operates in a way that the energy consumers have an opportunity to subscribe to specifically designed energy schemes given monetary incentives. After subscription, the consumers are given monetary incentives based on how effectively they are able to cut on their energy consumptions rates of the electricity. For the utilities to achieve this, these consumers are encouraged to use other forms of energy apart from electricity. The utilities have come up with energy-saving initiatives that help them motivate the energy consumers to save energy. Apart from electricity, consumers are requested to save the renewable energy as well (Liu, 2016, p. 13).

Most barriers affecting the demand responses arise from failed markets due to imperfect or provision of wrong information, and unclear or split information. Barriers to demand responses mean the specific factors that hinder the energy consumers’ behaviors from bearing positive results on the economy as well as hindering the success of energy efficient strategies. Some of the barriers towards effective application of Demand responses include;

Demand Response

Negative Consumer behaviors; the demand response is a rewarding energy management strategy if effectively applied, but as earlier stated the strategy is totally dependent on consumer behaviors, who are the end users of energy. This, therefore, means that for demand response to work effectively the strategy must receive full support from the consumers. A positive consumer behavior means that the end users have agreed to save the energy by cutting on their consumption of electricity during the peak periods.

However, consumers’ support is not always guaranteed, when consumers behave in a manner portraying resistance towards the schemes this acts as a major challenge to the strategy. There cannot be demand response without customer support. Therefore, consumer’s behavior can be a key base for the success or failure of this response depending on the consumers’ behaviors.

Insufficient data and information; over the years there are only few demand responses that have been injected in the energy utility segment. This means that the information and data relevant to propel the strategy is limited. Also, implementation of demand responses is challenging since the implementers lack any experience on the implementation of this strategy since data without experience will also result into inaccurate final results(Cappers P, 2010, p. 57).

Baselines; from the definition of demand responses, it’s a concept in which schemes are designed to pay end users for the estimated energy they don’t use. This, therefore, means that there are no set figures presenting the real figures of energy that the customers should save. This makes it challenging and imperfect for the baselines since it’s not possible to calculate what amount would have been consumed by consumers in absence of the set demand responses. The demand responses baselines as well lack the exact information since consumers are the only people who understand their they consumed the electricity and can take advantage of what they know.

Distributed energy calls for the control of electricity consumption at homes, industries and other places of work. The distributed generations call for individuals and corporate to turn to the use of locally generated energies, for example, people can use the low carbon electricity. The low carbon electricity helps in the energy conservations as well as in reducing the greenhouses gasses. Examples of distributed energy sources include; the use of wind power, solar panels power among others. The distributed generation is important since it helps cut the costs associated with transportation as well as on the costs of paying the energy bills(Zhang & Hug, 2015, pp. 1-2).

Barriers to Effective Application of Demand Response

Recently the network of electricity has gone through changes. The energy departments are incorporating renewable sources of energy. This renewable energy penetration into the market is the idea and concept captured in the distributed generation. In the UK and other parts of the world, energy policies are encouraging the integration of distributed generations by encouraging the use of renewable energies to supplement the use of electricity. The recent technology has made possible to put suitably distributed generations in place, the energy generated renewable sources can be used to serve the remote areas, rural and urban areas. Effective integration of these networks positively leads to the achievement of demand responses (Zhang & Hug, 2015, pp. 4-5).

The growth of Distributed Generations is faced with a few challenges and barriers. These barriers results to delayed or failed such processes and programs. The distributed energy generations require proper management as it has created a few problems since initially there was only one direction of energy flow. With the current use of wind, hydro and solar energy among others, it calls for proper management of the policies and strategies.

The second challenge lies in the data sources; the strategy lacks primary data to make use of and depends on secondary data. Secondary data may be outdated or contain some errors. There are no better studies that have been collected on the integration of distributed generations in the demand side management. This leads to the transfer of wrong and faulty information if any of the programs. It as well poses a challenge when the data available is not enough to run the entire program smoothly (Thomas Ackermann, 2001, p. 119).

Lastly, the distributed generation is as well faced by the challenge of time and mobility, there is also challenge in the time available to run and integrate the distributed generations.  The program as well fails to provide room for mobility which would lead to gaining of more data and information as well as gaining more experience on how the policies should be run (Strbac, 2008, p. 4426)

This is a demand side response that calls for residents to try as much as they can to regulate the electricity they use. It’s not concerned about using alternative means of energy as in the case of distributed energy but encourages people to con troll the amount of energy consumption by using energy saving electrical appliances. Reduction of energy use is economical as it saves money for the families which would have been used to pay for the extra electricity bills. The initiative as well helps reduce a number of pollutant gasses emitted to the environment, hence pollution reduction (Katz, 2010, p. 110).

Distributed Generation

The demand reduction strategy can be achieved through ; use of energy saving electrical appliances like the energy saving bulbs, heating and cooling systems as well as energy saving water heating systems. It’s important to note that the demand reduction is imposed on electricity energy as well as on the renewable energy. It’s a measure to control the overall amount of energy consumed no matter the source of the energy.

Currently, efforts to reduce energy usage have been embraced by many utilities; there are several programs that the energy utilities have brought to light. Most of these programs are ones encouraging end users of electricity and renewable energies, especially during the off-peak hours. The reduction program creates advantages to both the utilities and the consumers since it cuts on the costs they incur in paying electricity’s bills.

Socio-technical systems and energy demand; most demand reduction strategies lay guidelines on what is expected from the energy consumers on energy reduction. However, if this strategy is to bear fruits the initiative and strategy to save energy should be inbound. To achieve this program should seek to explain to the consumers the benefits of saving energy. They should come up with a training program to the energy consumers then leave the final decision to the initial decision of deciding when and how to save energy with the users (Katz, 2010, p. 113).

Economic demands; it would be inappropriate and deceiving oneself that the energy saving process can be achieved without raising the cost of energy. Energy-saving comes with additional costs, for instance cost of purchasing the energy-saving electric appliances whose prices are generally higher than those of ordinary electrical appliances. The increased price of energy that comes along with the programs is a threat to the implementation of the energy reduction initiatives (E. Shove, 2014, p. 54).

To achieve the demand reduction as well requires that there should be large energy flows from both electricity sources as well as from the renewable energy. Balancing between the two has been a complex and challenging issue over time. There also calls for attempts to manage the climatic conditions whose changes highly influencing the renewable sources like wind energy, solar energy among others. The climatic conditions as well affect the level and amount of energy produced both from the electricity and from the renewable sources. Energy reduction requires that consumers be well acquainted with relevant knowledge to help them manage the initiatives and embrace the programs (E. Shove, 2014, p. 66).

Challenges Faced by Distributed Generation

In conclusion, it’s evident that the three demand side management strategies can greatly help in the reduction of electricity consumption in the UK. This help balance the future needs of a higher amount of energy in the region as per the anticipation. With the current growth trends in the commercial, rural and residential sectors it means that in future more energy will be needed. This, therefore, means that the utilization of the demand side management if properly put in place will help in utilization of the available energies to drive the activities successfully.

However, the demand side management is faced with a few barriers which affect its utilization, these includes among others lack o f information required to run the programs, lack of proper metering, failure of consumers to understand the importance of energy saving or the relevance of supplementing electricity with renewable energies. If properly utilized the Demand side management will positively impact on the environment. The world has a measure to cut down the amounts of carbon gasses released to the atmosphere by 50% by 2050. This vision can only be achieved through the effective energy usage reduction. The more energy used the more carbon released hence the need for energy reduction.


Cappers P, G. C. (2010). D. Demand response in U.S. electricity. Retrieved from p.57

Shove, G. W. (2014). What is energy for? Social practice and energy demand.Theory Cult Soc.pp.54-66,

Greenblatt, J., & Long, J. (2012). "California's Energy Future: Portraits of Energy Systems for Meeting Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets" (. California: California Council on Science and Technology. p.89-

Katz, M. (2010). "Demand Side Management: Reflections of an Irreverent Regulator. Science Direct. Oregon Public Utility Commission. pp.110-113

Liu, A. L. (2016). . Demand side management with stepped model predictive control. Paper presented at the Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference,. Retrieved from The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld.: pp.13

Lund, P. D., Lindgren, J., Mikkola, J., & Salpakari, J. (2015). "RevieReview of energy system flexibility measures to enable high levels of variable renewable electricity". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews,pp.785-807.

Strbac, G. (2008). Demand side management: Benefits and challenges. Energy Policy ,pp. 4419-4426.

Thomas Ackermann, G. A. (2001). Distributed generation: a definition. Electric Power Systems Research, 57, 195–204 Sustainable energy regulation Distributed generation: a definition and policy making training manual, module 11 distributed generation: options and approaches. Retrieved from

Tooraj Jamasb, M. G. (2011). The Future of Electricity Demand: Customers, Citizens, and Loads. Cambridge University Press.p. 34-37

Zhang, X., & Hug, G. (2015). "Bidding strategy in energy and spinning reserve markets for aluminum smelters' demand response". Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference (ISGT), 2015 IEEE Power Energy Society: pp. 1–5.

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