Smarter Cities: Cleaning Electricity, Gas and Water Metered Consumption Data for Social and Urban Research

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems. 2019;7(3):466-481 DOI 10.13044/j.sdewes.d6.0242


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems

ISSN: 1848-9257 (Print)

Publisher: SDEWES Centre

LCC Subject Category: Technology | Social Sciences: Industries. Land use. Labor: Economic growth, development, planning

Country of publisher: Croatia

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Mishka Talent ( Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, 46 Sullivans Creek Road, ANU, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia )


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

It is claimed that ‘Big Data’ could help cities become ‘smart’, utilise resources more efficiently, and improve inhabitants’ quality of life. Metered consumption data of electricity, gas and water are collected and stored for each household in Australia and provide a valuable source of information for researchers hoping to understand the patterns of consumption and improve resource utilisation. This work tests the assumption that these datasets are sufficiently ‘clean’ to allow interrogation and details the common errors encountered. An inspection of 1-7 years of meter readings of electricity, gas and water for ~60,000 households in Canberra, Australia as well as all datasets of the local government’s energy and water efficiency programs, found this not to be the case. Common errors found include: missing data, biases in erroneous data, errors generated by the data custodians, duplicate entries, the effect of different custodian objectives and of poor data constraints (free flowing text).