Energy Reports Helping Residents Trim Bills

The president’s latest jobs bill may be dead in the water, but the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) keeps kicking. Case in point: Opower recently announced that residents of the C-7 New Energy Partnership – comprising seven cities in King County, Wash. – have saved more than $1 million on their bills and nearly 8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity since the launch of the Home Energy Reporting program in October 2010, funded through the ARRA.

The Washington Home Energy Report program provides residents with reports that help them understand their household energy usage while offering personalized suggestions on how to save energy and money. Since the launch of the program, nearly 90,000 households participating in the program have reduced energy use by 1.6 percent in aggregate, reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5.2 million pounds, the equivalent of taking nearly 1,000 homes off the grid for a year.

Opower, energy saving

image via Shutterstock

Participating households receive Home Energy Reports in the mail every two months, which include the following: Progress Trackers, revealing energy use changes over time; Personalized Energy Efficiency Tips, chosen specifically for each household based on its energy use and the characteristics of the home; and a comparison to neighbors’ bills, revealing local energy usage compared to the neighbors (without compromising privacy).

Those participating in the program can also request High-Bill Alerts via text message or email halfway through the month alerting them of potentially high electric bills, along with tips on how to avoid them.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.