Domestic Electricity Conservation: A Behavioural Economics appraoch
A Behavioural Economics ‘Nudge’ Trial presentation in support
Proposed by: Marcstephan
For the Rotman School, Toronto
Statement of the Problem
The UK is facing a severe electricity generation and distribution crisis with ever rising demand and an old
inefficient generation and distribution infrastructure.
Domestic electricity use in the UK is a large contributor to the rise in electricity consumption
Of domestic consumption between 10 and 15% is a result of electrical goods Standby Power
consumption when not actually in use.
The UK Government has a commitment to reducing electricity consumption and CO2 emissions and is examining
cost-effective means of achieving this goal.
Household electricity bills are rising rapidly and the Government sees cost-effective means of reducing consumption
as having an additional beneficial impact for stretched household budgets.
The Behavioural Economics Nudge project which this summary is outlining will take place in the Boroughs of
Enfield and Barnet in North London, UK which have a combined population of approximately 600,000.
The Nudge will be a Behavioural Economics RCT Field Trial using an ANOVA statistical approach.
The trial will use a modified utility Bill (one standard and two variants) as the Independent Variable (IV),
redesigned using the relevant principles of Behavioural Economics, to encourage a change in behaviour at
the level of the individual household (the experimental unit).
The Nudge conditions will be: Control, ‘Light’ Nudge, ‘Heavy’ Nudge:
‘Light’ and ‘Heavy’ refer to the level of BE influencers and Heuristics applied in that Bill Format.
The Targeted Behaviour
The behaviour that the Nudge will target is:
to encourage households to reduce their electricity consumption by switching off non-essential
Standby power items at the wall socket when not in use during the day and overnight.
The Dependent Variable (DV) in the study will be the total electrical consumption of the household over the
trial period under various conditions of the experimental design.
Bill representations (IV)
‘Control’ Bill format
‘Light’ Nudge Bill format
‘Heavy’ Nudge Bill format
600 households, matched for characteristics, will be randomly selected in Enfield & Barnet, London, UK to
receive one of the Bill types (Factor 1, 3 Levels) which will give 200 households per Bill type. Changes in
electricity use will be monitored over 12 months and analysed to assess the impact of the Nudge Bill Formats
compared to each other and the control Bill Format in terms of electricity usage.
The Behavioural Economics trial outlined in this presentation will:
Examine the impact of a Nudge in changing behaviour relating to electricity
consumption caused by domestic Standby power units.
Identify the direction and scope of the reduction in electricity usage savings that
result under the Nudge conditions
Provide a basis for a low-cost, easy and practical solution to domestic electrical
energy conservation that, if viable, can be rolled-out over large areas costeffectively
Add further information to the body of evidence underpinning the science of