Keep up with the Joneses? Pfft. Beat 'em.

national grid efficiency neighbors comparison

Heheh.

We like our neighbors. A lot. They've been friendly and helpful from the moment we moved in. But we gotta admit: it gives us great pleasure to know that we're crushing them.

How do we know? National Grid told us.

The energy utility sent us a "Home Energy Report" this week that compares our energy usage to that of our neighbors. And we're out efficiency-ing our neighbors like it's our job. Out of 100 similar homes in our neighborhood, we're ranked #19. (We had been in the top 10 this spring -- then we turned on the air conditioner.)

National Grid figures we're using 45 percent less energy than similar homes near us, saving us about $875 per year. Score.

national grid efficiency neighbors savings

OK, so we're not really that fired up about it. But it was pleasantly surprising.

National Grid has been sending out these home energy reports to selected customer since May, says Patrick Stella, a spokesman for the utility. He says about 130,000 National Grid customers in upstate New York have been getting the reports as part of a pilot program here (the National Grid program started in Massachusetts).

To be enrolled in the program, Stella says customers have to fit a set of criteria that enables to the company to compare their energy usage against that of 100 similar customers (fuel type, size of house) within a 2-3 mile radius. Customers were automatically selected for the program -- and they can opt out if they don't want the reports. As of right now, Stella says customers can't self-enroll in the program. He says they'll examine how things have gone at the end of this year and plot their next steps after that.

Stella says National Grid has a couple of goals for the program. The first is to create a new avenue for promoting its energy conservation programs -- the energy reports include info about changes customers can make to save energy, and rebate programs that are available. The other goal is to foster some friendly energy conservation competition among people.

Robert Cialdini, a professor at Arizona State and a top social psychologist, has done research that indicates people will cut down on the amount of electricity they use if you show them how their usage compares to that of their neighbors. Apparently it's even more convincing than showing people how to save money (or the environment).

A utility in Sacramento was one of the first to put this idea to use a few years back -- including bar charts showing customers how piggy they were compared to neighbors on their monthly statements. And it appears to be reducing power consumption. Cialdini is involved with the company that helped produce those reports -- and it's the same company producing reports for National Grid.

We like getting the reports. And it'd be fun if National Grid could post efficiency rankings for cities/towns or neighborhoods. You know, for civic pride. And talking trash.

Earlier on AOA: The utility bills of others

Comments

Am I the only one that notices that National Grid sends out these "energy saving" notices via paper? To be more clear- wasting trees?

*sigh* don't get it.

@Kayla: You can see the report online, too. But I didn't notice if you can "turn off" the paper reports.

Yup, you can opt to receive your Home Energy Report electronically via email, rather than having a hardcopy mailed to your house.

I found out I'm an energy hog :-(

I want in! I love charts and graphs and random stats :D

But the real reason I am commenting is Kayla's reply reminded me of a similar thing I noticed a few months ago... My Time Warner bill is pretty simple because I don't have too many services. So, for the last 6 years or so, my bill came on one piece of paper, printed front and back. Then Time Warner warned everyone that their bills would be changing soon, as they were GOING GREEN! The new bill does use less ink/printing, but now is two pages, printed front and back. Nice job missing the point, Time Warner.

(I still get their bills in the mail because I have to submit them to work!)

Lydia, you're not alone. I am crushing I think 80-90% of my neighbors... in the other direction... I guess I have lots of room for improvement though! :)

I hate these notices (65.... But my neighbors all snowbird in Florida and I have two teenagers. I have no hope!)

@Tom: Thanks!

@Lydia: Well, those studio lights must use a lot of energy. ; )

@Carly: That is one issue with the comparison -- it's based on type of house, not number of people in a household. A house with only two adults living in it probably has advantage over a house with multiple people.

I want I want I want!!! I really hope they start doing this for everyone but I probably won't like the results. All this rain meant 24/7 dehumidifier operations in the basement. :-(

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