IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Setting a standard for electricity pilot studies


  • Davis, Alexander L.
  • Krishnamurti, Tamar
  • Fischhoff, Baruch
  • Bruine de Bruin, Wandi


In-home displays, dynamic pricing, and automated devices aim to reduce residential electricity use—overall and during peak hours. We present a meta-analysis of 32 studies of the impacts of these interventions, conducted in the US or Canada. We find that methodological problems are common in the design of these studies, leading to artificially inflated results relative to what one would expect if the interventions were implemented in the general population. Particular problems include having volunteer participants who may have been especially motivated to reduce their electricity use, letting participants choose their preferred intervention, and having high attrition rates. Using estimates of bias from medical clinical trials as a guide, we recalculate impact estimates to adjust for bias, resulting in values that are often less than half of those reported in the reviewed studies. We estimate that in-home displays were the most effective intervention for reducing overall electricity use (~4% using reported data; ~3% after adjusting for bias), while dynamic pricing significantly reduced peak demand (~11% reported; ~6% adjusted), especially when used in conjunction with home automation (~25% reported; ~14% adjusted). We conclude with recommendations that can improve pilot studies and the soundness of decisions based on their results.

Suggested Citation

  • Davis, Alexander L. & Krishnamurti, Tamar & Fischhoff, Baruch & Bruine de Bruin, Wandi, 2013. "Setting a standard for electricity pilot studies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 401-409.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:62:y:2013:i:c:p:401-409
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.07.093

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joseph G. Ibrahim & Ming-Hui Chen & Stuart R. Lipsitz & Amy H. Herring, 2005. "Missing-Data Methods for Generalized Linear Models: A Comparative Review," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 332-346, March.
    2. Davis, Alexander L. & Krishnamurti, Tamar, 2013. "The problems and solutions of predicting participation in energy efficiency programs," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 277-287.
    3. Sexton, Richard J & Johnson, Nancy Brown & Konakayama, Akira, 1987. " Consumer Response to Continuous-Display Electricity-Use Monitors in a Time-of-Use Pricing Experiment," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 55-62, June.
    4. Battalio, Raymond C, et al, 1979. "Residential Electricity Demand: An Experimental Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(2), pages 180-189, May.
    5. Mostafa Baladi, S. & Herriges, Joseph A. & Sweeney, Thomas J., 1998. "Residential response to voluntary time-of-use electricity rates," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 225-244, September.
    6. Hutton, R Bruce, et al, 1986. " Effects of Cost-Related Feedback on Consumer Knowledge and Consumption Behavior: A Field Experimental Approach," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 327-336, December.
    7. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    8. Weisser, Daniel, 2007. "A guide to life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electric supply technologies," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1543-1559.
    9. Rebecca M. Turner & David J. Spiegelhalter & Gordon C. S. Smith & Simon G. Thompson, 2009. "Bias modelling in evidence synthesis," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(1), pages 21-47.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Stenner, Karen & Frederiks, Elisha R. & Hobman, Elizabeth V. & Cook, Stephanie, 2017. "Willingness to participate in direct load control: The role of consumer distrust," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 189(C), pages 76-88.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:62:y:2013:i:c:p:401-409. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.