Differences in household responses to feedback on their gas consumption

July 30, 2018
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Between 2019 and 2024 households in Ireland are due to receive new “smart” electricity and gas meters. These meters will provide more information on each household’s patterns of energy use and they should allow suppliers to provide households with better usage information and a wider range of pricing options. Some analysts believe that the additional information and price plans will help encourage energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. For instance, smart metering should make feedback on energy consumption more effective by increasing the frequency and availability of information to households. Then households can use this additional information to avoid unnecessary consumption and cost whilst also helping to reduce environmental damage. In previous research, it was found that providing more detailed feedback on natural gas usage to households reduced average daily gas consumption. Our research examined how different sorts of households respond when they are given more feedback on their use of natural gas. It could be that some types of households respond more strongly than others, which would help policymakers and suppliers predict how much gas will be conserved when smart meters are introduced. We also asked whether feedback has a persistent effect in households; for example, it could be that users tend to react to the extra information at first but eventually revert back to their previous energy use habits.