‘Technology for efficient consumption: Digital meters, time-of-use pricing and electricity consumption in Spain (SMART)’

Grants for research teams

Economy and Digital Society


The project sets out to test the efficiency of the time-of-use pricing system employed in the electric power industry.


Natalia Fabra Portela, professor at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid



Mar Reguant Nido, Northwestern University and David Rapson, University of California.


Universidad Carlos III de Madrid



The project will test the efficiency of the time-of-use tariffs employed in the electricity industry.

The team contend that there is unanimity among economists in support of this pricing formula, yet little conclusive scientific evidence to back it up. They will take advantage of the fact that the Spanish power sector has implemented this pricing system as the default option in a majority of households, coinciding with the mass rollout of digital meters (allowing the consumer to know what rate is being charged according to the time of use), to analyze its effects on both consumption patterns and prices per se.

To this end, they will use a database tracking the power consumption of a broad sample of households before and after the change in electricity pricing and before and after the installation of digital meters.