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Income Distribution Effects of Electric Utility DSM Programs

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  • Ronald J. Sutherland

Abstract

This paper uses the Residential Energy Consumption Survey undertaken by the Energy Information Administration in 1990 to estimate the statistical association between household income and participation in electric utility energy conservation programs and the association between participation and the electricity consumption. The results indicate that utility rebates, energy audits, load management programs and other conservation measures tend to be undertaken at greater frequency by high income households than by low income households. Participants in conservation programs tend to occupy relatively new and energy efficient residences and undertake conservation measures other than utility programs, which suggests that utility sponsored programs are substitutes for other conservation investments. Electricity consumption during 1990 is not significantly less for households participating in utility programs than for nonparticipants, which also implies that utility conservation programs are displacing other conservation investments. Apparently, utility programs are not avoiding the costs of new construction and instead are transferring wealth, particularly to high income participating households.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald J. Sutherland, 1994. "Income Distribution Effects of Electric Utility DSM Programs," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 103-118.
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:1994v15-04-a05
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2006. "Energy Conservation in the United States: Understanding its Role in Climate Policy," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0609, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    2. Parry, Ian & Walls, Margaret & Sigman, Hilary & Williams III, Roberton, 2005. "The Incidence of Pollution Control Policies," Discussion Papers dp-05-24, Resources For the Future.
    3. Dulleck, Uwe & Kaufmann, Sylvia, 2004. "Do customer information programs reduce household electricity demand?--the Irish program," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1025-1032, June.

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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General

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