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Breaking routine for energy savings: An appliance-level analysis of small business behavior under dynamic prices

Working Paper

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Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, page(s): 65

May 2020

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Small businesses are typically committed to providing a positive customer experience and therefore may exhibit a response to dynamic electricity prices different from residential or industrial customers. We conduct a field experiment to determine the extent to which small businesses respond through re-configuration of typical routines throughout the experiment period versus through adjustments to specific dynamic pricing events. Using a customer-level survey of appliance ownership, we estimate the hourly response patterns of individual appliances to participation in the experiment versus individual dynamic pricing events. Consistent with our re-configuration hypothesis, small businesses primarily curtail electricity usage throughout the experiment period, although we also find a small imprecisely estimated response to dynamic pricing events on top of the re-configuration effect. Appliances not critical to a positive customer experience such as dish dryers, food storage units, lights, electric motors & pumps, and industrial heaters are the major sources of the energy savings from the re-configuration actions of these small businesses.

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