US energy efficiency schemes should be aimed at the poor for the most sucessful outcome.
That’s according to Koichiro Ito, a researcher working with the Energy Policy Institute in Chicago.
The paper, “Asymmetric Incentives in Subsidies: Evidence from a Large-Scale Electricity Rebate Program” , states offering people money to inconvenience themselves on behalf of the environment will be taken most seriously by the poor.
It states in 2005 a programme called 20/20 was designed in California to help with the state’s energy crisis.
It worked by giving people who cut their electricity bill by 20% compared to the previous year an additional 20% discount.
The report states in more temperate and affluent coastal areas in California it had no effect but in the poorer valleys inland, people used far less energy.
It adds: “They were the ideal target for conservation incentives, even if no one was aiming at them specifically.”
The report recommends future programmes to target lower-income customers directly, particularly in areas with hot summers.