Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Research Protocol Development for Residential Energy Information Feedback(17197)

Electric Power Research Institute


Smart metering can make it possible to provide residential customers with interval consumption data, real-time feedback, price information and curtailment automation. Innovations in residential energy information feedback, such as in-home real-time energy displays, may influence consumer behavior, enable households to identify opportunities for energy savings and reinforce the benefits. Utilities and regulators are interested in the effectiveness of providing residential customers with various types of energy information feedback in addition to a monthly bill. Numerous pilot studies of energy information feedback measures have been undertaken to quantify the effectiveness of these feedback types for energy savings and load shifting among various populations. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) observed limitations of feedback pilots not observing scientific methods and recommended protocols be developed in their report, “Residential Electricity Use Feedback: A Research Synthesis and Economic Framework”*. NYSERDA participated with EPRI on this project to establish protocols for feedback pilots studies based on scientific and statistical methods so the outcomes of future studies can better inform public policy, examine effectiveness, and foster cross-utility comparison of similar studies. * “Residential Electricity Use Feedback: A Research Synthesis and Economic Framework,”, February 27, 2009.

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Project Description

The objective of the project was to publish a public domain guideline for designing of pilot studies of residential energy information feedback measures that would ensure the integrity of study results to inform the public, examine effectiveness and foster cross-utility comparison of similar studies. Building on EPRI’s previous work, categorizing various energy information feedback measures, EPRI and the collaborating entities, including NYSERDA, defined the elements of experimentation, research design, analysis, and documentation for which protocols would be desirable. On behalf of the collaborators, EPRI hired Freeman, Sullivan and Company to develop feedback pilot study protocols so these studies result in analytical data appropriate to inform related electric utility and regulatory decisions. Finally, they synthesized information on design protocol applications and created example applications of the protocols for three different feedback research scenarios.


The energy information feedback pilot guidelines developed with NYSERDA’s participation in this project will be valuable to utilities, cooperatives, regulators and researchers designing and conducting residential feedback pilots, either alone or in combination with other treatment options, such as dynamic pricing tariffs or educational materials. A number of pilots are getting underway as a result of federal stimulus awards for Smart Grid projects nationwide. Use of the guidelines will enable New York State and other states to better evaluate and compare the applicability of pilots conducted in one territory or state to the context of another, thereby enabling research to build upon work done elsewhere and increasing the quantity and quality of available research to consider in decision making.

Project Results

EPRI’s project report, “Guidelines for Designing Effective Energy Information Feedback Pilots: Research Protocols”, presents protocols for three phases of energy information feedback pilots, research design, analysis, and reporting. These protocols are widely applicable and invariant to the type of energy information feedback experiment being conducted and to the technology used to deliver feedback. It also provides guidance on: • experimental design and precision trade-offs, study treatments and variables to be measured • sampling plan, control groups, sub-segments and recruitment strategies • statistical methods for determining impacts of feedback and extrapolating results • documentation and analysis of load impacts, behavioral change and use of feedback,and • collection methods and data requirements for cross-utility comparisons. ** “Guidelines for Designing Effective Energy Information Feedback Pilots: Research Protocols,” , April 23, 2010.


Electric Power Research Institute
3420 Hillview Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Principle Investigator

Bernie Neenan

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Building Systems

NYSERDA Contact Information

Anthony Abate


R&D - Buildings Research

Contract Details

Start Date: 6/15/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: 17197

Last Updated: 1/22/2013