Monday, June 01, 2009

Midwest Monday: Utility Uses Psychology to Save Energy

Residents of the southern Minnesota city of Owatonna are playing keeping up with the Joneses...on their electric bills.

Owatonna is the fourth city in the United States to send its ratepayers something called a Conserve and Save Home Energy Use report with each gas, water and electric bill. The report not only shows how much energy the residence uses, but includes charts that compare the usage to the previous year and how the residence compares with the energy usage of 100 neighbors with the same sized home.

Sacramento was first city to test these "behavior reports" as a way to encourage energy efficiency. The city deemed the program "very successful" compared to other efforts to encourage efficiency and Owatonna is starting to see residents make changes too: Requests for home energy audits and meters that track appliances' energy use are both up.

via Fresh Energy and Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. The home energy reports were developed by Positive Energy of Arlington, VA.


Jeff McIntire-Strasburg said...

We received one from the electric company... nothing on gas or water, but it's nice to have the information on electric use over the last few years. Glad to see Ameren UE, our electric provider, is on top of this trend...

Andrew said...

Any chance this is going to go State Wide? In Minneapolis, we do our best to turn off lights, take short showers etc. It would be nice to see a report of our usage from month to month and see it reflected on the bill.

Great to see something Green from the extreme South Metro and Owatonna of all places; Because of Dick Day I had almost given up on that city.

Maria Surma Manka said...

Hi Andrew - I haven't heard of other MN utilities doing this yet, this would be a great thing for Xcel and others to implement.