Evidence from Two Large Field Experiments that Peer Comparison Feedback Can Reduce Residential Energy Usage
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)).
Special thanks to Tyler Curtis and Alex Laskey from Positive Energy/oPower for contributing criticism to earlier drafts. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- When customers received information on the energy consumption of their neighbors, average energy use declined by 1.2 to 2.1 percent...
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).