Smart Thermostats, Automation, and Time-Varying Prices
This study evaluates an experiment in which randomly encouraged households activate a smart-thermostat feature that automates responsiveness to time-of-use electricity pricing.
Can automation complement economic incentives? We explore this question by randomly encouraging households to activate a feature on their existing smart thermostat that automates responsiveness to time-of-use electricity pricing. The feature reduces air-conditioning use during the highest-priced afternoon period, raising indoor temperatures above a household’s preferred temperature, primarily for customers who are typically home during the day. Customers infrequently override the feature when they experience discomfort, suggesting that they are willing to trade off monetary savings for small increases in discomfort. Automation thus enables low-cost changes in household energy use, with potentially large electricity supply-cost reductions at scale.
Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Karen Palmer is a senior fellow at Resources for the Future and an expert on the economics of environmental, climate and public utility regulation of the electric power sector.
Casey J. Wichman
Casey Wichman is a university fellow at RFF. He performs research at the intersection of environmental and public economics, with an emphasis on examining the ways in which individuals make decisions in response to environmental policies.
Derek C. Wietelman
University of Maryland, College Park
Resources Magazine — Oct 4, 2023
Resources for the Future Welcomes Three New Fellows
Resources for the Future welcomes three new fellows to the research team whose work spans electricity markets, international climate policy, state and local policies, and environmental justice: Jenya Kahn-Lang, Milan Elkerbout, and Suzanne Russo.
Resources Radio — Oct 3, 2023
Cutting the Queue and Emissions in the US Power Sector, with Will Gorman
Will Gorman discusses the interconnection queue (the waiting list for developers that hope to connect power plants to the US electric grid), the reasons for recent growth in wait times, and reforms that could speed up the queue.
Common Resources — Sep 28, 2023
Designing Climate Policy for the Electricity Sector
Recent federal policy incentivizes low-carbon electricity generation. This conversation shares insights from experts about additional policy approaches that can help decarbonize the electricity sector while addressing environmental justice.