Electricity “shaming” comes to Detroit?

21 Oct 2013

My first energy “report card”

About 20 months ago, I blogged about a friend in Palo Alto who had received a summary comparing her electric use to her neighbors and last summer my house got a smart meter with the promise that, at some point, we were going to get access to our energy usage information via the Internet “to better manage my energy costs.”

Well, that day has arrived (sort of) and, frankly, I don’t have the tools to manage my costs but now I feel like an underachiever.

Our “energy report card” came in the mail and you can see, my family is somewhere in the middle when compared to my more efficient and less efficient neighbors.  Apparently, if we only could have matched the efficient neighbors, we’d have saved over $400 last year.  That sounds nice, but other than giving me three canned suggestions (or did they know we have an old basement fridge?), I’m not sure knowing how my usage compares really does for me.

Despite all the LED bulbs I’ve replaced (and I still have plenty of incandescents I’m waiting on to burn out), insulation, a new fridge and microwave and dishwasher, and timers, I  still need to invest more time and money in energy efficient appliances and use them more intelligently – no meter is going to remind my family to turn off the lights when we leave a room or not stand with the fridge open. It is the human element that needs to get smarter.

Thus far, I just feel like my neighbors are looking at me and saying, “he’s the one who leaves his porch lights on all night – D+!”  What about you? Did you get one of these? what are you doing with the information?

Leave a Comment to “Electricity “shaming” comes to Detroit?”

  1. Karen 23. Oct, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    No old fridge at my house and so far no smart meter. But when I get the data, I’ll want to know how I rate.

  2. Allison Friedman 23. Oct, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    We get those reports, too, in Massachusetts! And we compare badly, too. 🙁 We’ve had two energy audits, we’ve wrapped pipes and worked on our HVAC a few times, we’ve insulated and then insulated more (and found an old leaking chimney and capped it)… And we don’t seem right for solar. So at some point, we would love some guidance on what we CAN do further. It would also help if these measures were per the square foot – so we get a sense of how we compare for different home sizes? Conservation is one great idea, of course. At some point, another might be… moving! Maybe this is a trick, and everyone gets a bad report card? (Just kidding, but an interesting idea for motivation – we’re all D students!)….

  3. Mark 25. Oct, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Hello Art:

    I have the same report card. I’ve replaced all of my lights with fluorescent and haven’t noticed a price decrease. Also, I’m with you in that I am not as efficient as my neighbors. Perhaps my neighbors are never home to use electric appliances.

  4. Arthur Siegal 25. Oct, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Well, I’ve slowly been going LED and I wonder what my neighbors are doing as well! Given rates, I don’t think we can count on a price decrease but I’d be happy with my annual payment not going up!

  5. Arthur Siegal 25. Oct, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    I’ve asked some friends and no one has gotten an “A” but some have gotten average(as I did) and others have gotten below average so, at least I’m not an “F” student!

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