Discussion paper

DP14954 Disaggregate Consumption Feedback and Energy Conservation

Novel information technologies hold the promise to improve decision making. In the context of smart metering, we investigate the impact of providing households with appliance-level electricity feedback. In a randomized controlled trial, we find that the provision of appliance-level feedback creates a conservation effect of an additional 5% relative to a group receiving standard (aggregate) feedback. These conservation effects are largely driven by reductions in electricity use of 10% to 15% during peak hours. Consumers with appliance-level feedback hold more accurate beliefs about the energy consumption of different appliances, consistent with the mechanism in our accompanying model. Our result suggests that conservation effects from a smart-meter rollout will be much larger if appliance-level feedback can be provided. Based on a sufficient statistics approach, we estimate that appliance-level feedback could raise consumer surplus by about 570 to 600 million Euro per annum for German households.


Gerster, A, M Andor and L Goette (2020), ‘DP14954 Disaggregate Consumption Feedback and Energy Conservation‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 14954. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14954