If given real-time energy use data, customers will save energy. Different types of information may lead to different behaviors. Depending on your utility's needs and strategy, you may find this SMUD study valuable. While it answers some questions, others remain to be resolved.
We all know—or should—that "conventional wisdom" often means hearsay repeated too often. Actual, bona fide research, of course, can cut through the fog of conventional wisdom, but only if the audience is receptive and willing to examine the facts.
Thus we offer some insights into customer behavior from a study conducted last summer by Karen Herter of Herter Energy Research Solutions , in conjunction with (and funded by) the Sacramento Municipal Utility District  and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory .
We referenced this study in Monday's column, titled "Customers Need Energy Data First ."
I'll stick pretty close to Herter's language in her report, "SMUD's Residential Summer Solutions Study ," because—although the premises were fairly straightforward—the results can get confusing without basic graphs and charts to keep it straight. I'd urge readers to read the original paper and pay close attention to the charts, which provide visual clarity to the variety of findings.
Herter worked with 265 residential customers in the SMUD service territory last summer in an effort to test responses to (and perceptions of) an integrated energy efficiency and demand response program with real-time energy information, a dynamic rate and thermostat automation.
The study's main purpose was to test the effect