Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Automatic billpay and energy (in)efficiency

Posted by Rich Sweeney on April 9, 2008

Recently we’ve talked a lot about ways to promote energy efficiency/ conservation by making energy prices more immediate and transparent. However, yesterday my boss pointed out to me that there’s a very prevalent technological innovation working in precisely the opposite direction: automatic billpay. Whereas before you’d at least have to sit down with your check book once a month and pay your utility bills, now many households only check up on their energy expenditures once a year or so. Hardly a strong price signal.

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