American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Final Report on Customer Acceptance, Retention, and Response to Time-Based Rates from Consumer Behavior Studies

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The Department of Energy's Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program funded eleven consumer behavior studies (CBS) with the aim of evaluating residential customers' acceptance, retention and response to various types of time-based rate programs implemented in conjunction with information and control technologies.  The final Berkeley Lab analysis of the SGIG CBS utility evaluations found, among other things, that enrollment rates were about 3.5 times higher when customers were defaulted onto time-based rates over when utilities sought volunteers through opt-in offerings.  However, per-customer response rates were lower under default enrollment approaches whereas retention rates were about the same regardless of enrollment approach. The report also found peak period demand reductions for all forms of time-based rates were much higher when control technologies were present and seemed to narrow the gap in response to events under critical peak pricing vs. critical peak rebate programs.

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