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Electrical Customers Deluded Into Believing Utility Programs Work

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Utility customers overestimate cost savings with energy-conservation plans | Watts Up With That?

"What really prompted customers to decide whether they wanted to stay in the program was their perception of how much money they were saving – not so much actual savings," said study author Nicole Sintov, assistant professor of behavior, decision making and sustainability at The Ohio State University.

"People thought they were saving more than they were, and they were making decisions to renew the program based on these ideas, not on real savings. These are surprising results, and could suggest that there's a disconnect that could undermine the goals of these programs."

 

Previous research has shown that customers in general have a poor understanding of their electricity use and bills and that disconnect is likely at play here, Sintov said.

"They may be thinking, 'I made all these efforts, things like turning off my lights, so I must be saving money,' when in reality what they're doing is barely moving the needle on their usage or bills," she said.

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