Strategizing demand management from the middle out: Harnessing middle actors to reduce peak electricity consumption

Tali Zohar, Yael Parag, Ofira Ayalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a first of its kind, controlled field study, a middle-out strategy (MOS) was developed and applied in an aim to shave mid-week summer peak demand. The MOS focuses on middle actors as agents that can induce change from the middle-out, exerting influence via their networks in three directions: downstream (on end-users), upstream (on suppliers and regulators) and sideways (on other communities). The study was conducted in the summer of 2018 in two Israeli local communities (n = 66, n =258 households) and focused on the downstream impact. In both communities: (a) demand was monitored via smart meters, (b) generic and tailored text messages were sent twice a week during peak hours, and (c) economic incentive was offered to households that either saved 10% of their electricity during peak hours compared to the previous year, or 10% in August 2018 compared to July 2018. In one community, an additional four engagement activities took place. All interventions were mediated through local middle actors and middle platforms and differed in the level of the middle actors’ involvement. Additional data was collected via survey and interviews. A downstream impact was demonstrated when about one-third of the participating households reduced their peak consumption by 10%, with an average reduction of 4.5–6%. A sideways impact was indicated when middle actors from similar communities expressed an interest in conducting such a project in the future. An upstream impact was indicated when a significant actor in the electricity sector expressed an interest in supporting similar future projects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101360
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Demand response
  • Israel
  • Middle actors
  • Middle-out
  • Residential peak demand
  • Summer peak demand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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