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Household Income, Electricity Use, and Rate-Structure Preferences

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Environment and Behavior, Volume 16, Number 5, p.551-572 (1984)



energy efficiency


Using data collected as part of a larger project evaluating the effects of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, this article seeks to explore the relationship between household income, present electricity use (kwh), and preferences for three proposed conservation-promoting electricity rate structures. In considering the adoption of these structures, the respondent would find it necessary to consider the possible losses in comfort versus the lowered costs of electricity. Previous research suggests that income levels and present comfort levels may impact one's willingness to adopt alternative rate structures. Using present electricity use as a measure of the current comfort threshold, we find limited support for the suggestion that kwh use affects willingness to adopt alternative rate structures and stronger support for the hypothesis that income affects rate structure preferences.