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

35 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2009 Last revised: 13 Nov 2014

Ian Ayres

Yale University - Yale Law School; Yale University - Yale School of Management

Sophie Raseman

Yale University - Law School

Alice Shih

Yale University - Law School

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Date Written: July 16, 2009

Abstract

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).

Suggested Citation

Ayres, Ian and Raseman, Sophie and Shih, Alice, Evidence from Two Large Field Experiments that Peer Comparison Feedback can Reduce Residential Energy Usage (July 16, 2009). 5th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1434950 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1434950

Ian Ayres (Contact Author)

Yale University - Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
203-432-7101 (Phone)
203-432-2592 (Fax)

Yale University - Yale School of Management

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

Sophie Raseman

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Alice Shih

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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