Davis, Lucas “Evidence of a Decline in Electricity Use by U.S. Households” (May 2017) (Revised version published in the Economics Bulletin, 37(2): 1098-1105, May 2017) | WP-279R | Blog Post
This paper shows that U.S. households use less electricity than they did five years ago. The decrease has been experienced broadly, in virtually all U.S. states and across all seasons of the year. This pattern stands in sharp contrast to steady increases throughout previous decades and has significant implications for household budgets, energy markets, and the environment. I discuss some of the implications of the decline and then take preliminary steps toward identifying potential explanations. While multiple factors have contributed, I argue that the rapid emergence of LEDs and other energy-efficient lighting has played a particularly important role.