BOSTON, MA — Utility company National Grid began sending energy report cards to 50,000 of its Boston area customers this week, hoping their ability to compare consumption with their peers will drive down energy use.
Virginia-based OPower will generate the energy consumption reports, which are also being tested in eight states, the Boston Globe reported. So far, California customers receiving the reports for the last 16 months have trimmed their energy consumption by approximately 2.5 percent.
In addition to detailing customers' energy consumption for the last year, the report cards will compare energy use with the average of the nearest 100 like-sized households, as well as the 20 most energy-efficient area homes.
"There's obviously a little bit of a competitive aspect to it, to see if you can one-up your neighbors in terms of energy savings,'' Monica Ibrahim, program manager for the National Grid pilot, told the Boston Globe.
The company will also compare household energy use to the goal it has established for all of its customers: a 3 percent annual decline. National Grid expects customers receiving the reports will save $50 annually in electricity costs, and $27 in natural gas.
The report cards, which will also offer suggestions about how customers can conserve energy, have proven popular in other test areas and helped customers modify their behavior.
"The number one thing that they've done is shut off their computer at night,'' Bruce Sayler, manager of regulatory affairs at Connexus Energy in Minnesota, told the Globe, noting that customers in the pilot will likely save $20 to $25 a year.
Roughly 40,000 customers in the Twin Cities region are participating in the program, with just 360 who elected to opt out.
National Grid, which also serves Great Britain, set a goal earlier this year to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.