Journal Article

Do small pecuniary incentives motivate residential peak energy reductions? Experimental evidence

Jul 9, 2018 | Andrew Royal, Galib Rustamov


This article evaluates demand-side interventions aimed at reducing residential consumption during the peak energy periods. The interventions were applied to a sample of high-income households and included a set of text message reminders advising participants to reduce electricity use during peak hours. One group of participants received accompanying intra-day increases in peak-hour kWh rates, while another group of participants did not receive any price incentives. We find that intra-day price increases, though small in absolute magnitude, produced significant reductions in peak energy use. Reductions in use, as compared to a control group, were significantly higher among the pricing group compared to the group only receiving text messages, suggesting that pricing played a central role in influencing behaviour. Our results contribute to ongoing policy discussion about the effect of dynamic pricing on consumer energy demand.