Conserving Electricity by Ordinance : A Statistical Analysis

by Jan Paul Acton, Ragnhild Sohlberg Mowill

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An exploration of the statistical dimension of customer response to the Los Angeles energy curtailment ordinance, designed as a short-run policy to get through a shortage of generating fuels in the winter of 1973-74. Three approaches are taken in analyzing the impact of the ordinance on total energy consumption and use by major classes of customers: (1) A year-by-year comparison is made of monthly electricity production and sales for Department of Water and Power (DWP). (2) A statistical model is used to adjust for the effects of weather, price, economic activity, and minutes of daylight, and the "expected" electricity consumption is compared with observed consumption after September 1973. (3) Year-by-year changes for the Los Angeles DWP and the three principal private utilities in California are compared. No matter which analytic approach is taken in measuring the effects of the ordinance, the conclusion is that the response to the ordinance was rapid and substantial. It is concluded that the overall level of reduction, as well as the specific conservation measures adopted, could be achieved by most of the larger, and many of the smaller, commercial customers in most parts of the country.

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