To provide customers with innovative personalized information regarding their electric and gas usage, the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) began sending Home Energy Reports to nearly 20,000 of its residential customers in mid-November. The easy-to-understand reports provide customers with detailed information on their household energy usage, including an anonymous comparison against similarly-sized and equipped homes.
Combined with household-specific savings tips and access to an online web portal, the Home Energy Reports empower City of Palo Alto Utilities’ customers to make small behavioral adjustments to help lower their monthly energy bills and reduce environmental impacts.
A key feature of these reports---the comparison with similar homes---was included not to chastise customers for their energy use, but rather to give them a better sense of what level of savings they might reasonably achieve. To make these comparisons into an even more useful tool, customers are encouraged to go online and provide specific details such the number of persons in the home, whether a pool or sauna is at the home or to update the size of the home. Complete information is available at www.CityofPaloAlto.org/HomeEnergyReports
This Home Energy Report program launch establishes two precedents: it is the first time in California that this type of program has been used throughout the entire service territory of a combined gas and electric utility, and, it is the first program of its kind among the fifteen municipal utilities, districts and agency members of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA).
“The Home Energy Reporting program will deliver significant value to our residential customers, providing them with the information and energy-saving tips that will help them reduce both their monthly utility bills and their overall impact on the environment,” said Valerie Fong, Director of Utilities. “Based on the success of Home Energy Reports at utilities across the country, we expect the program to generate considerable savings for our customers.”
To deliver these reports, the City contracted with OPOWER, a vendor who has successfully deployed this program at multiple utilities across the country. In the first year, City of Palo Alto Utilities is expected to deliver a combined energy savings of 3,850 megawatt hours to its customers. This is enough saved electricity to power about 600 homes for a year.
About the City of Palo Alto Utilities
CPAU is the only publicly-owned utility in California that provides a full complement of utilities services, including electric, fiber optic, natural gas, water and wastewater. The City of Palo Alto Utilities has been delivering quality services to the citizens and businesses of Palo Alto since 1896. For more information, please visit www.CityofPaloAlto.org/Utilities
OPOWER is an industry leader in energy efficiency and Smart Grid software, providing the industry’s only all-channel customer engagement platform proven to deliver unprecedented energy efficiency gains to utility partners. Using cutting edge behavioral science and patent-pending data analytics, the OPOWER platform enables utilities to connect with their customers in a highly targeted fashion, motivating reductions in energy use, and increasing program participation and overall customer satisfaction. Seven of the ten largest utilities in the United States use OPOWER to significantly improve the effectiveness of their energy efficiency portfolios. Founded in 2007 and privately held, OPOWER is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. For more information, please visit www.opower.com