Can pecuniary and environmental incentives via SMS messaging make households adjust their electricity demand to a fluctuating production?

Niels Framroze Møller*, Laura Mørch Andersen, Lars Gårn Hansen, Carsten Lynge Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The increasing deployment of renewables introduces substantial variability into the production of electricity, requiring demand to be more movable across time. We analyze data from a large Danish field experiment (2015–2016) to investigate whether households can be prompted, via SMS messages, to move electricity consumption, and if so, whether these are motivated by pecuniary or environmental motives. The analysis has two steps: As a novel approach, we first use automatic model selection, which allows a different time-series regression for each of the 1488 households studied. From this, we obtain a cross-section of estimated SMS effects, which we then regress on the motive type. Since households can opt out there is a risk of self-selection. We therefore control for the size, income and average consumption of the household, and the age, educational- and labor market status of the SMS recipient. The results suggest that SMS messages can to some extent motivate households to move consumption. Although a stronger financial motive seems more effective, mixing financial and environmental motives seems the most effective. Finally, women and elderly people are more inclined to move consumption.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy Economics
Pages (from-to)1050-1058
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Field experimental data
  • General-to-Specific automatic model selection
  • Household-level electricity demand
  • SMS messaging

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