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Evaluating the Energy-Saving Effects of a Utility Demand-Side Management Program: A Difference-in-Difference Coarsened Exact Matching Approach

This paper seeks to estimate the energy-saving effect of a Demand-Side Management program, specifically Gainesville Regional Utility's (GRU) high-efficiency central Air Conditioner (AC) rebate program in which GRU offers incentives to its customers to replace their old, low-efficiency AC unit with a high-efficiency model. We use a difference-in-difference coarsened exact matching approach to reduce the imbalance of pre-treatment characteristics between treated and control households. We find substantial annual energy savings of the high-efficiency AC program. We disaggregate the energy-saving effects into summer peak effects, winter peak effects, and non-peak effects. The results indicate that the summer peak effects are substantial and statistically significant while there are little or no statistically significant effects of the program on winter peak demand. Also, by following program participants over a three-year period, we find that there is no statistically significant rebound effect of the high-efficiency AC rebate program.

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Keywords: Demand-side management, Energy savings, High-efficiency AC, Rebate, Coarsened exact matching, Treatment effects, Gainesville Regional Utility, Rebound

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.4.rboa

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Published in Volume 41, Number 4 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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