Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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Aug 21 2009

City Light’s Positive Energy Program: A Little Neighborly Competition Never Hurt Anyone

Positive Energy—I like it! This program will allow you to know how you stack up against your neighbor. At the Wednesday, August 5, 2009, Energy and Technology Committee (ETC) meeting I asked for a briefing on City Light’s Positive Energy program. It is one of City Light’s latest strategies to educate customers on energy usage and promote conservation. As you know, last year we adopted accelerated conservation as the major element in City Light’s Integrated Resource Plan.

With this project, City Light will randomly select 20,000 single family home customers to participate in a pilot project where they will be provided with the proper tools to help reduce energy costs, and in turn, reduce City Light’s need for new power plants. Nationally, hundreds of thousands of electricity customers are already participating in similar programs and it has demonstrated that these programs lead to significant savings of money and energy. Here is how it works: Your home’s energy use will be compared to a unique group of similar homes based on home size, type and heating source. A few times a year, you will be sent a report that shows a bar graph of your home’s energy consumption in comparison to about 100 of your neighbors and shows the energy use of the most efficient neighbors. Your home will also be given a “grade.” In addition, there is a line graph that shows the last 12 months of your home’s energy use compared with 100 of your neighbors and the most efficient ones. You will be informed of how much more (or less) energy you consume compared to your neighbors and how much more (or less) money you are spending. Nothing like a little competition to encourage efficient behavior! A progress report of your consumption will also be included along with advice on how to decrease your energy use.

I look forward to seeing the rollout of this pilot project and the possibility for it to be available to all City Light customers.

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