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Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1475; doi:10.3390/su9081475

Consumers’ Attitudes towards Surcharges on Distributed Renewable Energy Generation and Energy Efficiency Programs

1
School of Public Policy, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD 20742, USA
2
Technological Entrepreneurship and Management Program, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ 85212, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 July 2017 / Revised: 10 August 2017 / Accepted: 15 August 2017 / Published: 19 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

Increasing penetration of energy efficiency programs and distributed renewable energy generation has imposed significant challenges for utilities to recoup their large upfront costs. There is a heated debate on what surcharges should be implemented to help the utilities recover their fixed costs; however, very few studies focus on consumers’ attitudes regarding this topic. This study surveys about 190 residential consumers throughout the United States in November 2015, investigating their preferences and attitudes towards extra demand charges and volumetric energy price increases. We apply probit models and regress consumers’ attitudes on selected socio-demographic and behavioral variables. The results indicate the homeowners are more likely to prefer demand charges when compared to renters. The demographic and behavioral factors impact consumers’ perception of bill savings from energy efficiency programs or solar panel installation and also influence how consumers perceive the fairness of utilities recovering revenue losses by increasing volumetric energy price. In this paper, we demonstrate there is preference heterogeneity among consumers and that policy makers should be aware of such preference heterogeneity and apply policy targeting based on the identified demographics and behavioral factors impacting consumer preferences. View Full-Text
Keywords: surcharges; fixed demand charges; volumetric electricity pricing; energy efficiency programs; solar panels; consumer perception surcharges; fixed demand charges; volumetric electricity pricing; energy efficiency programs; solar panels; consumer perception
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Liang, J.; Qiu, Y.; Padmanabhan, P. Consumers’ Attitudes towards Surcharges on Distributed Renewable Energy Generation and Energy Efficiency Programs. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1475.

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