Dr. Destenie Nock

Dr. Destenie Nock

Title of talk:
Energy Limiting Behavior a Hidden Form of Energy Poverty

Talk Abstract:
Income-based energy poverty metrics miss people's behavior patterns, particularly those who reduce their energy consumption to limit financial stress. Using a residential electricity consumption dataset, we determine the outdoor temperature at which households start using home cooling systems. Using this inflection temperature, we calculate the relative energy poverty within a region, which we define as the energy equity gap. In our study region, we find that the energy equity gap between low and high-income groups ranges from 4.7°F to 7.5°F. In 2015-2016, within our population of 4,577 households, we found 86 energy-poor and 214 energy-insecure, meaning they are at risk of heat-related illness and death. In contrast traditional income-based energy poverty metric identified just 141 households as energy insecure. Only three households were defined as energy-poor or energy-insecure by both our temperature-based measure and the traditional income-based measure. This minimal overlap shows the value of considering consumer behavior when identifying energy poverty and energy insecurity.

Speaker bio:
Dr. Destenie Nock is a leader in energy justice, energy justice, and sustainable energy transition trade-off analysis. In her role as an Assistant Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE), and Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) she creates optimization and decision analysis tools which evaluate the sustainability, equity, and reliability of power systems in the US and Sub-Saharan Africa. In another project she is creating a new measure of energy poverty to help utility companies identify energy limiting behavior in low-income households, a hidden form of energy poverty. Dr. Nock is also the CEO of Peoples Energy Analytics, a data driven company which uses energy analytics to identify energy poverty in vulnerable households. She is also the CSO of DevvStream. Prior to her current position at CMU, Dr. Nock received her PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She earned a MSc in Leadership for Sustainable Development at Queen's University of Belfast, and two BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Applied Math at North Carolina A&T State University. She is the creator of the Black Electricity Blog site which posts articles about graduate and undergraduate advice, and research updates in energy and sustainability.