January 31, 2009

Psychology and electricity bill

In the NYTimes article Utilities Turn Their Customers Green, With Envy one can read:

The district had been trying for years to prod customers into using less energy with tactics like rebates for energy-saving appliances. But the traditional approaches were not meeting the energy reduction goals set by the nonprofit utility’s board.

So, in a move that has proved surprisingly effective, the district decided to tap into a time-honored American passion: keeping up with the neighbors.

They go on to explain that people really don't appreciate being badly rated and send angry letters when they are but:

The approach has now been picked up by utilities in 10 major metropolitan
areas eager to reap rewards through increased efficiencies, including Chicago
and Seattle, according to Positive Energy, the software company that conceived
of the reports and contracts to produce them. Following Sacramento’s lead, they
award smiley faces only.

Energy saving is the largest and most ignored ressource of energy, and they've just found a new way to extract it from where it lies!

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