While newer appliance models have better energy efficiency, several studies have found that consumers’ power usage may actually increase as a result of replacing old appliances with new ones. To address this challenge, many utilities are now using disaggregation tools to offer homeowners insights into why their energy bill might increase rather than drop.
In an article for Utility Dive, William Hughes, principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights, explains that consumers who purchase new energy efficient products tend to change their behavior in ways that result in more power usage. For example, LED lighting could result in a 75% decrease in power use over incandescent lighting—however, actual energy savings sometimes end up being less than 1%, indicating that people use their LED lights about four times longer than incandescent lights.
“The primary reason is that people are often excited about their new, energy efficient purchases and want to enjoy them,” said Hughes.
Disaggregation data, which breaks out major uses including appliances and lighting, allows customers to lower their energy usage, adds credibility to energy efficiency efforts, and grows consumers' trust in utilities.
“Adding information that shows their usage patterns before and after for new products adds credibility to energy efficiency efforts, particularly if it is a solution recommended by the utility,” said Hughes. “It can also reduce the chances of missed energy efficiency savings.”