Using Feedback as a Tool for Household Energy Conservation: An Experimental Approach

by Kannika Thampanishvong

This study used the field experiment approach to assess how effective information and feedback provision about electricity consumption is to influence households to conserve energy. This approach relied on statistical methods to establish whether households in the treatment groups were able to reduce their electricity consumption with respect to the control group. Three treatments were considered, (1) self vs. neighbors’ electricity consumption comparison (Treatment 1); (2) provision of general advice on electricity saving (Treatment 2); and (3) advice on electricity saving as well as self vs. neighbors’ comparison (Treatment 3). A total of 138 households in the Minburi and Nongjok districts of Bangkok participated in this experiment. Results showed that households that had received both electricity-saving advice and peer-comparison feedback (Treatment 3) were able to significantly decrease their electricity consumption relative to the control group. This supports the hypothesis that the electricity conservation “nudge” of providing feedback to households on their own and peers’ home electricity usage works in terms of eliciting behavioral changes and in influencing a reduction in residential electricity consumption. Telling people how their energy consumption compares to that of their neighbors has the statistically significant impact of reducing their consumption by about 6%, and that providing energy-saving “hints” has a positive but more modest positive effect.

  • Publication Year: 2015
  • Country: Thailand
  • Research Area: Energy and Mineral
  • Research Topic: Fuel Subsidy or Energy Use
  • Analytical Framework: Behavioral/Experimental Economics
Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia