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Resource and Energy Economics

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Many U.S. states have regulations that prevent natural gas utility companies from turning off service to non-paying consumers. The goal of these policies, termed “no shut-off” (NSO) regulations, is to provide a guaranteed minimum level of residential comfort by reducing the marginal cost of consumption to zero for a period of time. This paper employs a difference-in-difference approach applied to residential U.S. Energy Information Administration data to evaluate whether NSO policies generate higher levels of gas usage. Our preferred specifications suggest that activation of a NSO policy increases natural gas consumption by between 4.7–4.8%, resulting in a total increase of between 66 and 67 billion cubic feet of natural gas consumed per winter season in covered states, at a value of as much as $950–970 million annually.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Resource and Energy Economics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Resource and Energy Economics, Vol. 48 (May 2017): 19-29. DOI. © 2017 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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