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Free Riding, Upsizing, and Energy Efficiency Incentives in Maryland Homes

Anna Alberini, Will Gans, and Charles Towe

Year: 2016
Volume: Volume 37
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.37.1.aalb
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We use a unique dataset that combines an original survey of households, information about the structural characteristics of their homes, utility-provided electricity usage records and program participation status, to study the uptake of energy efficiency incentives and their effect on residential electricity consumption. Attention is restricted to homes where heating and cooling is provided exclusively by air-source heat pumps. We deploy a difference-in-difference study design and find that replacing a heat pump with a new one does reduce electricity usage by 8% on average. The effect differs dramatically across households based upon whether they receive an incentive towards the purchase of a new heat pump. Among incentive recipients, the effect is small, and the larger the incentive, the smaller the reduction in electricity usage. These findings suggest that capital costs are incorporated into the (long-term) cost of energy, generating an apparent rebound effect that is much more pronounced for incentive recipients.

Why Consumers Switch Energy Suppliers: The Role of Individual Attitudes

Xiaoping He and David Reiner

Year: 2017
Volume: Volume 38
Number: Number 6
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Since 2008, fewer customers switched suppliers in British electricity and gas markets despite the potential for financial gains, suggesting that psychological factors may affect switching behaviors. Using a unique nation-wide British survey, we explore the influence of consumers' attitudes and perceptions on switching behaviors and assess the differences in switching propensity across different groups. Support for simplifying energy tariffs, professed less difficulty in understanding energy bills, expected difficulty in changing suppliers and lack of attention to the issue of energy prices are associated with lower switching activity. At a time of high saliency, political party voting intention was strongly related to switching. Unlike the bivariate analyses conducted by the regulator and the competition authority, our multivariate analysis show few demographic factors affect the likelihood of switching except for educational attainment and tariff payment patterns. Remedies aiming to encourage switching cannot be targeted correctly unless the supporting analysis is robust to alternative model specifications.

Investment in Energy Efficiency, Adoption of Renewable Energy and Household Behavior: Evidence from OECD Countries

Prudence Dato

Year: 2018
Volume: Volume 39
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.3.pdat
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There are possible synergies between the decision to invest in energy efficiency measures and to adopt renewable energy, in the sense that the former reduces energy demand so that the latter can further cut future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and which has great potential in the residential sector. Much work has been done in the residential sector on demand for clean energy and on investment in energy efficiency, but to our knowledge there is no specific study that investigates the relationship between the two. This paper fills a gap in the literature, and first shows theoretically that there are relationships of substitution or complementarity between the two decisions depending on the threshold of the cross effect related to the environmental motivation of the consumer. Second, the paper empirically shows that the two decisions are positively interrelated due to unobserved characteristics that determine both decisions. Third, the paper provides differential impact of energy poverty, split incentive problem, dwelling characteristics, commitment and trust on the two decisions. Finally, the paper investigates household characteristics that significantly affect the joint adoption of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies. This contribution can serve to define incentive policies to advance the energy transition.

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