Big Surprise: The Cheaper the Power, the More We Use

consumption vs price electricity graph image

Over at Worldchanging, Eric de Place of the Sightline Institute plots some interesting data, showing demonstrating that just like with cars and gas prices, the higher the price of electricity, the less people will use. But only to a point; residents of San Diego pay a lot more for electricity than those in Los Angeles, but their use is almost identical.

And sure, the power is a lot cheaper in Seattle and Eugene, Oregon, but what are they doing with it? One would think that the more temperate climate up there would mean lower consumption due to less need for air conditioning.

Can readers from Oregon or Washington explain this?

nationwide consumption vs price electricity graph photo

Nationwide one sees the same phenomenon- people use less when it is more expensive. As Eric de Place puts it,

1. Price and consumption are not perfectly correlated. Clearly there are many non-price factors affecting electricity consumption. (These include, at least, the local climate, building size and type, and local energy efficiency policies.) But still...

2. Price definitely affects use, and the fit gets better as you move up the price axis. The more expensive electricity is, the less likely consumers are to be profligate. ::Worldchanging
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