Opower’s Home Energy Report, Minnesota

Summary
In 2009, Opower, an energy information software company, partnered with a Minnesota utility company to provide residential customers of the utility company with customized home energy reports. Before developing these reports, Opower conducted an initial evaluation of customers’ energy habits to better understand the factors that influenced a household’s energy consumption, and, using data provided by the utility company, generated an energy use baseline for each household over a 12-month period. Working alongside behavioral scientists, Opower crafted the home energy reports which were sent monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, and included: 1) an Action Module that showed a household exactly how much energy it was currently using and where and how it could reduce usage, and 2) a Comparison Module that showed the household how its energy use compared to neighbors. 

Each home energy use report was triple verified for accuracy and Opower’s methodology and results were also independently verified by leading industry analysts and non-profit organizations, as well as established academics from several leading institutions.  Utility companies that opted to integrate their website with Opower’s web portal were able to offer additional resources to customers like individualized energy-efficiency tips, tools to help with the selection of an optimal energy rate plan, text message alerts when energy consumption was higher than normal, and coupons for purchasing energy-reducing products. In 2010, 6% of the more than two million households in Minnesota received Opower’s reports and since the partnership between Opower and Minnesota utilities began in 2009, Minnesota households have saved more than $6 million (USD) annually on their energy bills and more than 107 GWh of electricity.

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McKenzie-Mohr & Associates

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