CMS Energy announced proudly that it is joining the Green Button initiative. What is that you say? Well, per its website,
“Green Button is the common-sense idea that electricity customers should be able to securely download their own easy-to-understand energy usage information from their utility or electricity supplier. Armed with this information, consumers can use a growing array of new web and smartphone tools to make more informed energy decisions, optimize the size and cost-effectiveness of solar panels for their home, or verify that energy-efficiency retrofit investments are performing as promised. Consumers can even use fun innovative apps that allow individuals to compete against Facebook friends to save energy and lower their carbon emissions…. Green Button is an industry-led effort that responds to a White House call-to-action: provide electricity customers with easy access to their energy usage data in a consumer-friendly and computer-friendly format via a “Green Button” on electric utilities’ website…. Initially launched in January, utilities committed to provide Green Button capability to nearly 12 million households in 2012. Two utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric – have implemented live functionality on their websites.”
OPower (with whom CMS is working) claims that they will deliver:
- Dynamic content-rendering capability;
- A patent-pending analytics engine;
- A scalable print & mail and quality assurance process;
- Customizable program design; and most importantly,
- Guaranteed results – i.e., energy and monetary savings.
If you are a CMS electricity customer (DTE isn’t on board yet), you can register at OPower. There’s no similar program for gas usage. Earlier this year, I blogged about the local Palo Alto utility effort to allow their customers to do neighborhood comparisons. I expressed some doubt about whether that would be effective beyond a year to year comparison of my own usage. I doubted that knowing what a hundred of my neighbors are doing would motivate me to be more efficient. Would it motivate you? I’ve looked at some of the tips listed and, frankly, I’ve done most of them. So, what new “fun” information can they provide? Well, I guess I have to wait for DTE to catch up to CMS. If and when they do, I will let you know.