November 10, 2008
PSE Launches Innovative Home Energy Reports
Home Energy Reports, a first-of-its-kind program for the Pacific Northwest, now allows 40,000 Puget Sound Energy customers to compare their electricity and natural gas use with that of similar-sized homes in their neighborhood. The free pilot program, currently being tested by PSE in King County, gives single family homeowners detailed reports that offer greater insight into their personal energy consumption, as well as specific, personalized suggestions for how they can save energy and money.
"Better choices begin with better information, and our hope is that the Home Energy Reports will provide our customers with the data they need to make smart energy decisions," said Cal Shirley, vice president Energy Efficiency Services for PSE. "The Home Energy Reports are a great new tool for helping homeowners save energy and save money, two things that have never been more important in today's economy and environment."
The Home Energy Reports allow PSE single-family homeowner customers with both natural gas and electric service to compare their energy use with that of similar-sized homes in their area. The report allows each customer to see how much energy the average home in their neighborhood uses and to see how much energy is used by the most-efficient 20 percent of nearby homes. The data for the average and most-efficient nearby homes is calculated from the energy use of 100 similarly-sized residences located within two miles of the customer's home.
No customer will see any other customer's individual energy data in the Home Energy Report. All customers were selected at random, and participation is voluntary.
"The Home Energy Report offers a unique and innovative way for our customers to get the best value for their energy dollar," said Shirley. "By learning more about how their energy choices compare with energy use in similar homes, our customers can have a better sense of the improvements they can make, and of the potential savings they can achieve."
Many customers who have received the Home Energy Reports say they appreciate the information and will take steps to reduce their energy use, although some do acknowledge they had expected they were more efficient than the report indicated.
"At first, I was surprised by the information in my Home Energy Report," said John Gegus, owner of JG Business Solutions in Snoqualmie. "We've already started using compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), but then I took a look at the energy-saving ideas and realized there were some great opportunities to become even more efficient. I think this will be good for the environment, and a nice way to save money, too."
Gegus says that, based on the report, he is looking to take actions such as making better use of his programmable thermostat, insuring all windows and doors are well-sealed and using solar-powered outdoor lighting to reduce his home energy use.
In addition to the information on energy use, the Home Energy Reports use advanced methods for analyzing customer data to offer specific conservation tips tailored to the individual customer's energy-use history and the size of their residence. Factors such as whether a home is heated by natural gas or electricity, or whether a resident is a likely renter or owner, are used to make suggestions that will vary from home to home in the pilot program.
Many of the tips are no-cost behavioral changes such as lowering the thermostat at night or setting the water-heater temperature to 120 degrees. Others, such as switching to CFLs, are simple changes that can be made at low cost.
Home Energy Reports are being sent to 30,000 customers on a monthly basis, with 10,000 customers receiving quarterly reports for a year - with the variation being used to test the effectiveness of each reporting schedule during the pilot program. Along with the mailed reports, pilot program participants can also link from PSE.com to a Web site, www.psereports.com, for more information on energy savings.
PSE's energy efficiency programs are expected to help homeowners and businesses save 53.3 average megawatts of electricity and 5.3 million therms of natural gas in the next two years - or the equivalent of the energy use of approximately 40,000 homes. PSE predicts that its energy efficiency programs will save enough energy over the next 20 years to supply electricity to all the residences in Seattle, Bellevue, Bellingham, and Olympia combined, and will negate the need for building two additional mid-sized, 250-megawatt power plants.
For residential customers making significant home improvements, a total of more than $2,200 in rebates is available, including $1,600 for improved insulation, $350 for a high-efficiency furnace or heat pump, $150 for a high-efficiency tankless water heater and $100 for a premium efficiency clothes washer. Additional rebates of $2 to $20 are available for CFL bulbs and lighting fixtures, up to $300 for the purchase of an EnergyStar manufactured home, and a $30 payment and free pickup of any operating, older refrigerator. Homeowners can call 1-800-562-1482 to speak with a PSE Energy Advisor, or visit PSE.com for more information about PSE's energy-saving rebates and programs.
About Puget Sound Energy
Washington state's oldest and largest energy utility, with a 6,000-square-mile service area stretching across 11 counties, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) serves more than 1 million electric customers and 739,000 natural gas customers. PSE, a subsidiary of Puget Energy (NYSE:PSD), meets the energy needs of its growing customer base primarily in Western Washington through incremental, cost-effective energy conservation, procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted investment in the energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are dedicated to providing great customer service to deliver energy that is safe, reliable, reasonably priced, and environmentally responsible. For more information, visit www.PSE.com.