NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Evidence from Two Large Field Experiments that Peer Comparison Feedback Can Reduce Residential Energy Usage

Ian Ayres, Sophie Raseman, Alice Shih

NBER Working Paper No. 15386
Issued in September 2009
NBER Program(s):   EEE

By providing feedback to customers on home electricity and natural gas usage with a focus on peer comparisons, utilities can reduce energy consumption at a low cost. We analyze data from two large-scale, random-assignment field experiments conducted by utility companies providing electricity (the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)) and electricity and natural gas (Puget Sound Energy (PSE)), in partnership with a private company, Positive Energy/oPower, which provides monthly or quarterly mailed peer feedback reports to customers. We find reductions in energy consumption of 1.2% (PSE) to 2.1% percent (SMUD), with the decrease sustained over time (seven months (PSE) and twelve months (SMUD)).

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15386

Published: Evidence from Two Large Field Experiments that Peer Comparison Feedback Can Reduce Residential Energy Usage, 29 JOURNAL OF LAW, ECONOMICS AND ORGANIZATION 992 (2013) (with Sophie Raseman & Alice Shih).

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