• Energy Efficiency
  • Demand Response
  • COVID-19

Considerations for Energy Consumption Analysis During COVID-19

Bethany Glinsmann
May 14, 2020


This blog was coauthored by Debbie Brannan.

Customer energy consumption data plays an important role in assessing the efficacy of energy efficiency and demand response programs. Observed customer behavior paired with a well-designed statistical model yields crucial insights for program design. But do these analysis tools hold up in the face of the coronavirus outbreak or other periods of systemic change? 

Guidehouse’s econometric experts weighed in on the usefulness of energy consumption analysis (commonly referred to as billing analysis) during or adjacent to the COVID-19 period. This guidance applies to analyses that encompass large groups of program participants, rather than customer- or site-specific analyses. Evaluators should consider the program implementation design and study goals when determining the appropriate analytical approach. Whether the program is implemented using an experimental design and whether the goal of the study is to inform ex post or ex ante measurement of impacts will guide whether evaluators can proceed as planned, or whether they need to go back to the drawing board. The figure below serves as a user guide for evaluators.

User Guide: Analysis of Energy Consumption Data During or Adjacent to COVID-19

User Guide: Analysis of Energy Consumption Data During or Adjacent to COVID-19

Note: Programs implemented with an experimental design have a designated control group and commonly take the form of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) or randomized encouragement design (RED). Quasi-experimental studies do not have a designated control group and rely on identification of a comparison group. 

(Source: Guidehouse)

Alternative approaches are available if analysis is not advised. Guidehouse’s experts are available to assist your organization with program design and evaluation strategies that explicitly account for the COVID-19 period.