Information Campaigns for Residential Energy Conservation

Last registered on January 19, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Information Campaigns for Residential Energy Conservation
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006724
Initial registration date
January 18, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 19, 2021, 6:22 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and University of Passau.
PI Affiliation
University of Mannheim

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2014-08-10
End date
2016-11-15
Secondary IDs
D83, L94, Q41
Abstract
Information campaigns are a widely used policy tool to overcome problems arising from imperfect information. This study evaluates an intervention that randomized information letters about the savings potentials of energy efficient investments and behaviors among 120,000 households of two utilities in Germany. Moreover, we test whether the framing of information in environmental or monetary terms matters.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Andor, Mark A., Andreas Gerster and Jörg Peters. 2021. "Information Campaigns for Residential Energy Conservation." AEA RCT Registry. January 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6724
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2014-09-10
Intervention End Date
2015-08-10

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We estimate the treatment effects of the information letters on electricity consumption in 2015 and 2016.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We test the effectiveness information letters about the savings potentials of energy efficient investments and behaviors. For the implementation of the randomized intervention, we cooperated with one regional (REG) and one supra-regional (SREG) utility, both located in Germany. We use a sample of around 123,000 residential electricity consumers in total; 115,000 from SREG and 8,000 from REG. We randomized information letters among those households that received their annual electricity bill between mid-August and the end of October 2014. In addition, we introduced three treatment arms that display savings in monetary terms, in terms of CO2 emissions, or show both of these metrics.
Experimental Design Details
The randomization was stratified by the households’ baseline electricity use and the utility. The four letters were sent to households on a quarterly basis. We sent the first information letter shortly after a household had had its yearly meter reading and had also received the electricity bill for 2014, which constitutes the baseline year of our analysis. Hence, at the time of the next annual metering in 2015, households would have been exposed to the full four letter treatment for about three months. After receiving their 2015 electricity bill, households did not receive any further letters. We observe the electricity consumption for another year, until households received their 2016 electricity bill. This additional year allows us to analyze how treatment effects evolve over time.

As households were not interviewed or informed about participation in an experiment, we can rule out biases through survey, John Henry, and Hawthorne effects (see, e.g., Schwartz et al. 2013). Our sample includes only households that had been with the electricity supplier for at least one year, in order to draw on baseline consumption data. Beyond electricity consumption, we also observe the consumers’ tariff and information at the 1km grid-level that we obtained from a sociodemographic data provider, microm (microm 2015). This data set includes population densities, unemployment rates, the average purchasing power per household, the percentage of retirees, and the percentage of foreign household heads.
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Customers of the two utilities.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Not clustered
Sample size: planned number of observations
Planned: 45 000 electricity customers (see attached project proposal, in German) Actual: More than 120 000 electricity customers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Planned: 15 000 electricity customers (see attached project proposal, in German)
Final sample size
Control group: more than 80 000 electricity customers
Treatment group monetary framing: more than 14 000 electricity customers
Treatment group ecological framing: more than 14 000 electricity customers
Treatment group Combined (monetary and ecological) framing: more than 12 000 electricity customers
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials