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President Barack Obama speaks at OPOWER in Arlington, Va. | Photo courtesy of OPOWER
President Barack Obama visited OPOWER, an Arlington, Va., energy company to praise the work going on there. “The work you do here, as we just heard, is making homes more energy efficient, it’s saving people money, it’s generating jobs and it’s putting America on the path to a clean energy future,” Obama said.
OPOWER implements an energy-efficiency program with utilities, delivering energy savings by motivating customers to take action. Consumers are empowered with tools that leverage cutting-edge behavioral science, data analytics and software that helps them gauge where their energy usage is in relation to their neighbors’. The program also helps them understand the best, most cost-effective ways to improve.
“The president’s recognition of the work we have been doing with our utility partners and the tremendous results we have been able to achieve validates our innovative approach to energy efficiency,” Dan Yates, founder and CEO of OPOWER, says. “Utilities are increasingly recognizing that effective customer engagement is the missing component for unlocking the potential of energy efficiency, as well as the value of their smart grid investments.”
A customer who participates in OPOWER’s program receives a report that tells them how much more energy they are using than their neighbors and recommends what simple steps, such as setting a thermostat higher or lower, he or she can take to use less energy. This is done through a multichannel approach using mail, Web and phones (including smart phones), and customers are provided with charts and graphs that show them how much money they are saving or could be saving by using energy more efficiently. OPOWER’s patent-pending analytical platform also provides insights on the most likely source of inefficiency inside a home, based on pattern analysis of past usage.
OPOWER’s products deliver an average of as much as 3.5 percent in energy savings across an entire targeted population. And by saving utilities and customers money, OPOWER’s business is growing, creating a new generation of green-collar workers. As the president said during his visit, “The jobs of tomorrow will be jobs in the clean energy sector, and this company is a great emblem for that.”
With the utilities currently under contract, OPOWER expects to deliver more than $500 million in energy bill savings over the next three years. Scaled nationwide, their program could deliver savings of $5 billion annually.