Short-term residential load forecasting: Impact of calendar effects and forecast granularity

Peter Lusis, Kaveh Rajab Khalilpour*, Lachlan Andrew, Ariel Liebman

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Literature is rich in methodologies for “aggregated” load forecasting which has helped electricity network operators and retailers in optimal planning and scheduling. The recent increase in the uptake of distributed generation and storage systems has generated new demand for “disaggregated” load forecasting for a single-customer or even down at an appliance level. Access to high resolution data from smart meters has enabled the research community to assess conventional load forecasting techniques and develop new forecasting strategies suitable for demand-side disaggregated loads. This paper studies how calendar effects, forecasting granularity and the length of the training set affect the accuracy of a day-ahead load forecast for residential customers. Root mean square error (RMSE) and normalized RMSE were used as forecast error metrics. Regression trees, neural networks, and support vector regression yielded similar average RMSE results, but statistical analysis showed that regression trees technique is significantly better. The use of historical load profiles with daily and weekly seasonality, combined with weather data, leaves the explicit calendar effects a very low predictive power. In the setting studied here, it was shown that forecast errors can be reduced by using a coarser forecast granularity. It was also found that one year of historical data is sufficient to develop a load forecast model for residential customers as a further increase in training dataset has a marginal benefit.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalApplied Energy
    Pages (from-to)654-669
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Calendar effects
    • Disaggregated load
    • Distributed generation and storage management
    • Granularity
    • Residential load
    • Short-term load forecasting


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