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

36 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2009 Last revised: 13 Nov 2014

See all articles by Ian Ayres

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

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 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 (September 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15386. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1478804

Ian Ayres (Contact Author)

Yale University - Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
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203-432-7101 (Phone)
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Yale University - Yale School of Management

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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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