Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nudging on electricity consumption

After having exhausted the conventional methods of ecouraging electricity consumers to minimize their energy consumption, a Municipal run electricity utility in Sacramento, California, has come up with a strategy to "nudge" its consumers to modify their consumption behaviour.

The utility has been sending out personalized report cards at random to its customers, rating them on their energy use compared with that of neighbors in 100 homes of similar size that used the same heating fuel, and with the 20 neighbors who were especially efficient in saving energy. Customers who scored high earned two smiley faces on their statements, "good" conservation got a single smiley face, and those "below average" in their energy consumption got frowns!

The same approach can be tried with garbage generation, keeping surroundings clean, water consumption etc. I had posted earlier on how the Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) could take the lead in evalauting households, either by themselves or through third-party certitification agencies on certain parameters, including some of the aforementioned, and then grade them. These grades can then be displayed alongside the door or plot number plate, thereby acting as a "social nudge" to get people to become more responsible in their civic duties.

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