PAUSE Demand - FAQs

What is PAUSE Demand?

As technologies continue enhancing our everyday lives, we are increasingly reliant on electricity. As a result, ensuring we have reliable and clean electricity generation systems in India has become an essential and challenging goal. One component of the solution is to make our electricity demand more flexible: if we can shift usage that is not time-sensitive to when the wind blows and the sun shines, supplying us with abundant clean energy, it will be cheaper to produce more electricity from such renewable resources. But how do we decide what is time-sensitive and how do we shift usage?

Which electricity usage is time-sensitive will vary from person to person. With the Plug Adoption and Use for Smarter Energy Demand (PAUSE Demand) project, we are beginning to understand which electricity usage households consider to be time-sensitive and when electricity usage is more flexible.

Participants in PAUSE Demand are provided a free smart plug that can be controlled and monitored remotely via the internet or our POWBAL application. We ask you to use this plug for electricity consumption that you deem non-time-sensitive.

We will use the plug to measure the amount of time-flexible electricity consumption at various times, which allows us to understand the potential for shifting usage to times when India experiences abundant power from renewable sources. We do so by switching off the plug from time to time for brief intervals (which may also help you to save a little on your energy bills). If you do not override these switch-off events called Powdowns, it will show us that whatever you have connected to the plug is indeed not time-sensitive at that particular time. It is important to note that you will always be able to override such Powdowns either manually via a button on the plug, via the online interface, or via the POWBAL app.

What happens once I sign up?

Once you have consented to participate, please connect your smart plug to any appliance you choose. Follow the steps in the instructions manual in the plug box to register the plug. Make sure to check if you can switch on/off your appliance by using your smartphone. You can then proceed to use your electrical appliance normally. The data collected from your usage behaviour and your response to Powdowns of 30 minutes will help us understand the energy consumption patterns of a typical Indian consumer.

How long should I participate?

The Pilot study will monitor the user data for approximately six months and will record your behaviour vis-a-vis Powdown events and daily appliance usage. If at any point in time, you do not wish to continue with the study, you can choose to leave and can choose whether we use your already collected data for analysis. You will receive regular support from our research team to help you participate in this study.

What are the benefits of participation?

Upon consenting to participate in the study, you will receive a free Wi-Fi-enabled smart plug valued at approximately INR 1000. By participating, you stand a chance to earn financial incentives. Furthermore, upon completion of the study, you will be allowed to retain the smart plug, provided it remains attached to an electrical appliance at all times during the study.

Which electronic appliance should I plug in via my POWBAL plug?

Consuming more power via the smart plug by plugging your most energy-consuming, time-flexible devices into the smart plug (examples below) increases your chances of higher earnings and reduces your monthly bill as well. Here below is an estimate of the energy usage and consequent costs of using certain appliances. We have assumed a tariff of 5.43 rupees per kWh.

Appliance or Electronic General number of hours used (assumed) Annual Units(KWH) General Usage Annual Units(KWH)Max(24 hours) Monthly Cost (KWH) Max Monthly Cost (KWH) General Usage
1 Ton AC - 2 ton AC 7 2,520 - 5,040 8,640 - 17,280 3,909.6 - 7,819.2 1,140.3 - 2280.6
24-82 inch LED/LCD Television 4 86.4 - 424.8 518.4 - 2,548.8 234.576 - 1,153.332 39.096 - 192.222
Air Purifier 17 183.6 259.2 117.288 83.079
Ceiling fan (48 inch) 22 633.6 691.2 312.768 286.704
Desktop Computer 5 810 3,888 1,759.32 366.525
Extractor/Exhaust fan 23 289.8 302.4 136.836 131.1345
Microwave 1 648 15,552 7037.28 293.22
Refrigerator 24 2160 2160 977.4 977.4
Treadmill 2 648 7,776 3,518.64 293.22
Washing Machine 0.2 93.6 11,232 5,082.48 42.354
Tariff rate assumed: 5.43 rupees per KWH

Beyond making a little extra money, through your participation, the team behind POWBAL will learn more about enhancing energy efficiency in our community, helping you and those around you save money while contributing to environmental improvements locally and globally.

What do I do if my plug is not online?

If your plug is not online, please make sure that (i) it is connected to a socket that is switched on, (ii) the Wi-Fi signal is strong enough near your plug (e.g., by connecting your phone or laptop to the Wi-Fi network and checking the strength near your plug), (iii) Check if your plug was registered properly and (iv) if needed re-register the plug.

What about privacy?

All data obtained from participants will be kept confidential and only reported in an aggregated and anonymized format. All questionnaires will be concealed, and no one other than the investigators and research team will have access to them. The data collected will be stored in a secure database. The primary purpose of data collection is academic researchWe ensure all data collection and storage adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a strict EU regulation on data privacy.

Are there any risks to my involvement in PAUSE Demand?

We do not expect any risks or discomforts to arise from participation in Pause Demand. However, you can contact us at any time at if you experience any issues. This email address will be monitored daily.

Can I withdraw my participation if I change my mind?

Participation is completely voluntary, and you have a right to withdraw your participation at any time (or refuse to participate entirely), without penalty or consequences. If you choose to withdraw, you will be asked whether we can use your already collected energy usage data. If you confirm, we will include the data to continue to enhance our understanding of energy demand flexibility. Should you choose to withdraw your consent, we will delete your data from our files and permanently delete your consent form.

Will someone be available to help if I have questions or concerns during my participation in POWBAL?

Yes. You can contact us anytime at If necessary, a member of the project team may be available to meet with you to discuss issues and concerns, as well.

Aman Haider
Aman Haider
Research Manager