Friday News Roundup (5/18/12)

Consumer weather app benefits both sides of energy
Backed by gift card incentives, discounts on devices, and a guarantee to optimize home energy use, CenterPoint Energy’s new e5 program supported by EnergyHub and Earth Networks will enable the Texas utility’s customers to take advantage of a useful tool this summer: a smart thermostat app that can help both to reduce energy bills and maximize demand response. The software,¬†which generates average household energy savings of 15-30 percent, works by leveraging a network of ground sensors and data from the thermostats, as well as home and smart meter data, to build a thermal dynamic picture of each house. Along with measurable demand and cost reduction through thermal optimization, the program offers consumers benefits like end-of-summer energy scorecards and home energy audits.

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Nearly one in three U.S. households has a smart meter
A report released this week by the Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE) reveals that nearly one in three households in the United States currently have a smart meter installed, a number that has risen from one in four just eight months ago. By the end of this year, IEE predicts that 22 electric utilities in 16 states will have smart meters installed systemwide, and a projected one-half of all U.S. households will be equipped with smart meters by 2015.

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New SGCC member Consert offers simple ways for utilities to approach social media
As utilities recognize the impact of social media on business and marketing strategies, Consert, Inc. provides some essential tips for using social media as a vehicle to build community and deepen customer engagement. “Utility customers live in a communications era that is changing by the minute, and that means utilities need to go beyond the meter and invite two-way communication through the use of social media,” says Tony Di Giosia, director of marketing for Consert. Social media affords utilities a new opportunity to expand their presence, and Consert’s tips can help them create value in different ways for their customers.

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