Can we reduce electricity consumption while staying at home? Social norms trigger responsible behaviour

2019 Premier Energy-UNDP social experiment that reduced energy consumption by 2% will be scaled to all Moldovan households.

Up to 250,000 households throughout Moldova will participate in a social experiment aiming to reducing electricity consumption that has reached unprecedented heights during COVID-19 lockdown. The announcement was made on 24 June, during the EU Sustainable Energy Week, celebrated also in Moldova.

This campaign scales up a similar exercise conducted in 2019 by Premier Energy and UNDP Moldova for 20,000 households from Chisinau.

During the next period, those households with an annual energy consumption exceeding 140 kW/hour in 2019 will receive statistics comparing their data to that of energy efficient consumers in the community. The letters also offer advices and solutions for energy saving during the #Stayathome period and encourage people to pay their bills online, as a safety measure during COVID-19 pandemic

“To support a more responsible energy consumption in both urban and rural Moldova, we are scaling-up this initiative to the rest of the country and all households with the hope to decrease the high demand pressure that affects currently the local energy sector, spur more responsible consumption, minimize the carbon footprint and nudge people to opt for digital payment. We will robustly evaluate the impact of the scaling-up to inform policy debate on sustainable energy use,” says Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative for the Republic of Moldova.

“Premier Energy is proud to continue collaborative innovation work with UNDP Moldova in terms of further nudging households to improve their electricity consumption, including in this difficult COVID-19 period,” notes Jose Luis Gomez Pascual, country manager Premier Energy in Moldova.

“Our initial behavioral experiment conducted last year proved very successful and we managed to show case that that social norms work, and our consumers are able to reduce their consumption by about 2% through more responsible behaviour. This time is different: we want to scale-up this successful experiment by sending letters to our clients not only in Chisinau and adding new elements - an additional nudge for people to cancel their bills online or in the banks or Posta Moldovei, but with strict observance of safety measures, as there is still a need to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and at the same time it is necessary to avail of enough resources in the energy system to ensure the continuity supply and the proper functioning of the energy sector to go back to normality,” underlines Jose Luis Gomez Pascual of Premier Energy.

The initiative is inspired by the Opower program in the United States of America.

Media Contacts
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Development Programme