Cost-Effectiveness of Electricity Energy Efficiency Programs

Scholarly Edition

We analyze the cost-effectiveness of electric utility ratepayer-funded programs to promote demand-side management (DSM) and energy efficiency (EE) investments. We specify a model that relates electricity demand to previous EE DSM spending, energy prices, income, weather, and other demand factors. In contrast to previous studies, we allow EE DSM spending to have a potential long-term demand effect and explicitly address possible endogeneity in spending. We find that current period EE DSM expenditures reduce electricity demand and that this effect persists for a number of years. Our findings suggest that ratepayer-funded DSM expenditures between 1992 and 2006 produced a central estimate of 0.9 percent savings in electricity consumption over that time period and 1.8 percent savings over all years. These energy savings came at an expected average cost to utilities of roughly 5 cents per kWh saved when future savings are discounted at a 5 percent rate.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Arimura, TH; Li, S; Newell, RG; Palmer, K

Published Date

  • April 27, 2011