An energy efficiency program piloted by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) succeeded in more than doubling energy savings among participating residential customers during a three-month period. Erica Faunce of Lakeside, California, was declared theBiggest Energy Saver(SM) contest winner in San Diego after achieving a 46.5 percent energy savings, equal to 1,356 kilowatt hours for her family of three, and won a new laptop computer.
From Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, approximately 200 participants were selected to pit their energy-efficiency skills against one another, sharing their results daily online through a social gaming application developed by Simple Energy and monitoring their savings in real-time through in-home energy management devices developed by Tendril Networks and provided by SDG&E.
The Biggest Energy Saver campaign was kicked off inJune 2011 by Grid 21, a nonprofit organization committed to engaging electricity customers in using a new generation of tools and technologies to better manage their electricity consumption. Grid 21 developed the campaign based on a call to action byUnited States Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, who urged the public to engage in a national White House initiative to empower customers to benefit from smart meter technology and move the smart grid forward. The contest included participation from twoTexas utilities, with SDG&E as the only California utility tapped to participate because of its advanced smart meter deployment and energy efficiency programs.
The average savings of the San Diego participants who used the social gaming app integrated with the automated control device was 20 percent, compared with 9 percent for those who used the devices alone. Random drawings for tablet computers and gift cards to local restaurants were used to reward participation, and the winner received the distinction of the Biggest Energy Saver title and a top-of-the-line laptop computer. The competition’s prizes were sponsored by both Simple Energy and Tendril Networks.
“We didn’t win any of the three drawings for an iPad,” said Faunce, “but now that I think about it, we saved more than enough money to buy a brand new iPad!”
“SDG&E has more than 30 years of experience in implementing successful energy efficiency programs, and with our smart meter rollout largely complete, we are now turning the corner with tools to provide meaningful energy usage data and value for our customers,” said Ted Reguly, director of customer programs and assistance at SDG&E. “The Biggest Energy Saver campaign is a great example of the creative ways that we can facilitate a higher level of engagement with customers and demonstrate how technology can leverage smart meter data, providing real benefits.”
Many customers have said they want access to their energy usage information online. Smart meters – one of the foundational elements of the smart grid – allow access to this data. They provide customers with greater choice, convenience and control in how they access and use the information.
Tips that people can put to use today to reduce their energy use just like San Diego’s Biggest Energy Savers include: switching to compact fluorescent lighting, lowering water heater temperature, using the minimal amount of lighting needed for a task, washing and drying dishes and clothing by hand, using smart power strips, and turning off computers and monitors when they aren’t in use.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.5 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.