Consumer energy information – a call to action on climate change


Copenhagen, Denmark — (METERING.COM) — December 17, 2009 – Governments across the world should provide citizens access to real time information on their home energy use, Google, GE, the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition, Whirlpool and ten other U.S. companies and organizations have urged at the COP15 climate change conference in Copenhagen.

In a statement released at the event, the signatories point out that studies show that simply giving people this information can result in energy savings of up to 15 percent. With straightforward additional steps – for example, changing light bulbs, replacing inefficient appliances, and weatherizing homes – even greater savings can be captured. The bottom line is that climate change can’t be solved if people are in the dark about how they use energy in their own homes.

The statement comprises a call to action to governments and businesses, saying that by empowering citizens with information and tools for managing energy, the power of hundreds of millions of people around the world can be harnessed to fight climate change – and save them hundreds of billions of dollars in the process. Specifically, countries should ensure their citizens have access to basic information such as real time or near real time home energy consumption, pricing and pricing plans, and carbon intensity, including source and carbon content of electricity.

This information can be delivered to citizens with technologies that exist today and can be rapidly deployed. To get there, countries can provide incentives for energy monitoring equipment and set rules for consumer access to information. They can also enact stronger energy efficiency standards, as well as provide financial incentives and smarter energy pricing plans.

The statement notes that if all households in developed countries achieved a 15 percent energy savings by 2020, it would mean about a 470 MtCO2 equivalent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This is equivalent to about 10 Denmarks or 100 Copenhagens, taking more than 200 million cars off European roads, or shutting down 124 large coal power plants.

“We think that’s a solution that governments should be paying attention to,” said energy policy counsel Michael Terrell in a blog. “A lot of the decisions on the table in Copenhagen are hard, we believe this one is simple.”

Terrell added that the group of signatories will take other actions after the Copenhagen meeting has ended.

The other signatories to the Copenhagen statement are The Climate Group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Alliance to Save Energy, the Center for American Progress, Digital Energy Solutions Campaign, Dow, the Energy Future Coalition, Intel, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the U.S. Green Building Council.