Glendale Water & Power (GWP) customers now have the ability to share and compare their energy use with friends on Facebook. The social energy app is designed to provide people with a better sense of their energy use while fostering friendly competition and provides new ways for people to discover savings opportunities. Consumers can use this new platform to share their experiences and tips on energy consumption. To get started, GWP customers should visit social.opower.com or search for the “Opower” app on Facebook and connect their utility account. People who sign up will immediately see how their energy use compares to others, providing context for how efficient their home is versus comparable households. As friends are invited and join, people will then be able to compete against each other in savings competitions.
The social energy app is the result of a partnership between Opower, Facebook, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) offered by GWP as a new way for customers to get further engaged in their energy use and cut unnecessary energy costs. Millions of homes across the U.S. today can choose to connect their utility account with the app and start participating.
“The Opower social energy app is a new tool for energy-conscious consumers to connect and share their knowledge,” said Glenn Steiger, GWP’s General Manager.
The initial set of features in the app include:
• Compare Energy Use to Similar Homes. People are able to benchmark their home energy use against a national database of millions of homes. All benchmarking will be done on an aggregate level, ensuring complete data privacy.
• Compare Energy Use Among Friends. People are able to invite friends to compare their energy use against their own, show how energy efficient they are, and share tips on how to improve.
• Publish Conversations About Energy to the Facebook Newsfeed. People are able to share information about their energy use, rank, group participation, and tips.
• Group Development – Cooperation and Competition. Communities of people are able to form teams to help each other achieve collective goals, as well as compete against other groups.
• Automatically Import Energy Data. Customers of participating utilities, such as Glendale are able to import their energy data into the application automatically, if they so choose. (Customers from utilities that are not participating will also have the option to input their energy usage into the app manually.)
According to NRDC, improvements in energy efficiency have the potential to deliver more than $700 billion in cost savings in the U.S. alone. Understanding how people consume energy and their behavior around managing their use is critical to capturing this unlocked energy efficiency potential. Motivating consumers to take action – a longstanding challenge – is the key to unlocking this potential. The social energy app is one of the many things that Glendale Water & Power is offering customers to become more informed energy users.