Promotions with financial incentives are the best way to convince residents to conserve energy, according to a new study about demand response. UCLA researchers found that requests for customers to reduce their energy consumption at peak times led to a decline in usage. These findings matter because conservation programs, known as demand response, are becoming an important tool for utilities to balance electricity supply and demand.
This study involved more than 20,000 customers who take part in demand response programs. They covered the service areas of Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. In total, they received approximately $1 million in conservation incentives during the course of the study.
The study also showed the importance of technology in improving demand response efficiency. Households with smart thermostats, solar panels, and electric vehicles saved more energy during demand response times than other households.
“In more good news for the environment, our study found that demand response programs result in overall reduction in energy use, not merely a shift in consumption to other hours or days,” comments J.R. DeShazo, principal investigator on the study.