Consumer Engagement Programs

and Smart Energy Efficiency Strategies for Our Nation’s Electric Utilities

A working paper prepared for the Garrison Institute’s

Climate, Mind and Behavior Program to invite review, comment and discussion

About the Paper

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In the United States, energy consumers represent 314 million potential sources of large-scale reductions in electricity demand. Since the turn of the 21st century, a wide range of new and innovative programs has made it easier than ever to help people who we have traditionally thought of as energy consumers become energy savers and in some cases energy producers. But these efforts have hit some important roadblocks. This paper is an effort to describe the opportunities and the roadblocks and to propose a way forward that would help utilities to reshape their relationship with millions of Americans and empower them as partners in achieving America’s energy solutions.

The Garrison Institute’s CMB Program supported the development of this working paper with the goal of helping business leaders, policy makers, and regulatory agencies better understand the opportunities associated with innovative, consumer-oriented engagement strategies and overcome the roadblocks that prevent us from unlocking conservation and efficiency-related energy savings. As documented in the paper, these types of strategies could help utilities, states and the nation to realize the full range of benefits from energy efficiency while lowering the cost of energy services. In this regard we consider this paper to be the first step in a critical dialogue that could revolutionize the relationship between utilities and consumers and between consumers and the energy that they consume. 

An Opportunity to Comment

We view this document as a work in progress and actively invite your comments as we continue to explore these issues. Comments are actively solicited over a 30-day period ending February 15, 2013. It is our expectation that a final version of this paper will be posted in early March 2013.  Those who wish to provide feedback are invited to contact Skip Laitner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Download “Consumer Engagement Programs as a Smart Energy Efficiency Strategy for Our Nation’s Electric Utilities

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Climate, Mind and Behavior Leadership Council:

Dina Biscotti, UC Davis
Uwe Brandes, Urban Land Institute
Marilyn Cornelius, Stanford University
Jeff Domanski, Princeton University
Becky Ford, University of Otago, New Zealand
Ruth Greenspan-Bell, Woodrow Wilson Intl Center for Scholars
Lauren Kubiak, Natural Resources Defense Council
Skip Laitner, ACEEE
Nils Moe, Urban Sustainability Directors Network
Phil Payne, Gingko Residential
Roger Platt, USGBC
Jonathan Rose, Garrison Institute Board Member
Kurt Roth, Fraunhofer Institute
Jonathan Rowson, RSA
Rachael Shwom, Rutgers University
Jennifer Tabanico, Action Research
Jason Twill, Lend Lease (Australia)

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