Evaluation of Telephone Energy Conservation Information Centers in Minnesota

Eric Hirst
Robert Maier
Michael Patton

DOI: 10.2190/2PJD-KBR1-XEB6-GLRA


Both the Minnesota Energy Agency (MEA) and the Northern States Power Company (NSP, the state's largest utility) operate telephone-energy conservation information centers. Together, the two "hotlines" handled almost forty-five thousand inquiries in 1979. A detailed evaluation of these hotlines was conducted during 1979. The evaluation included four phases, marked by different policy interests and strategies. The first involved review of hotline operating records, to understand the operational dynamics of each program. The second phase involved a telephone survey of 108 August 1979 hotline callers (within two weeks of their hotline contact), to establish caller satisfaction with the service. The third phase involved a telephone survey of 439 people who called the hotlines in 1978 and 270 randomly selected state residents, to determine households' demographic characteristics and the energy conservation actions of hotline callers and non-callers. The final phase involved collection and analysis of fuel use records for 257 households surveyed. Survey results show that the MEA and NSP telephone centers provide useful services to Minnesota residents. Hotline users express satisfaction with the services. Analysis of telephone survey results shows that hotline users took more conservation actions than did non-users. However, analysis of fuel consumption records failed to show any energy saving effects of the hotlines.

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