Arlington, VA, Menlo Park, CA, and Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 4, 2012 – In conjunction with 16 utilities representing 20 million households and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Opower has launched a Facebook platform social energy app.
The app is aimed to enable people to take action and become more energy efficient, by quickly and easily benchmarking their home’s energy usage against similar homes, comparing energy use with friends, entering energy saving competitions, and sharing tips on how to become more energy efficient.
The app can be logged into by anyone with a Facebook account. Those customers within the participating utilities’ territories are able to directly connect with their utility account, making it easy to track their progress and share it with others.
The participating utilities are Austin Utilities (Minnesota), Burbank Water & Power, ComEd, Connexus Energy, Consumers Energy, Glendale Water & Power, Loveland Water and Power, National Grid (New York and Massachusetts), Owatonna Public Utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, City of Palo Alto Utilities, PPL Electric Utilities Corp., Rochester Public Utilities, and Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC, with Direct Energy and New Jersey Natural Gas coming soon.
“The level of enthusiasm we’re seeing from people who are excited about getting better context about their energy use, and share – even brag – about their energy efficiency within their social networks is inspiring,” said Dan Yates, CEO and co-founder of Opower. “It demonstrates a shift within the industry for how people expect to interact with their utility. Having meaningful conversations with customers using social channels will soon become common in the utility industry.”
The app’s concept derives from extensive social science research on human behavior change and energy use. Dating back to NRDC’s Hood River Conservation Project in the 1980s, word-of-mouth proved to be an effective tool in encouraging people to use energy more efficiently. Utilizing this kind of behavioral science combined with energy information, and Facebook’s global platform for connecting and sharing has the potential to create a dialogue and action about energy efficiency among hundreds of millions of people.
Households within the 16 participating utilities’ territories will be able to take advantage of the app’s “Utility Connect” feature, allowing them to choose to have their energy use automatically update each month.
The current beta launch is the first iteration of the app, which will expand with additional partners and functionality in the months to come.