Independent UK energy supplier First Utility is today launching my:energy, its home energy efficiency and management service.
In partnership with US energy information software provider Opower, my:energy will provide First Utility’s 100,000 customers with information comparing their energy use with that of their neighbours and personalised energy efficiency tips.
Over the coming months, the online service will add an ‘unusual usage’ alert to its capabilities, which will send an email or SMS message to customers when their energy use is higher than usual.
Other future features include text message reminders to turn down the thermostat when warmer weather is forecast.
If all households in the UK used the my:energy service, it has the potential to save around £1.7 billion in energy costs and 3 billion tonnes of carbon over a three-year period.
According to research by Robert Metcalfe of the University of Oxford and Paul Dolan of the London School of Economics, bills that contain comparative information on neighbours’ usage habits can drive 5% reductions in energy use, with bigger cuts reported when energy-saving tips are added on.
Providing information on small steps to change behaviour may be needed to drive long-lasting changes in energy use, Metcalfe suggests.
“First Utility's mission has always been to change the relationship consumers have with their energy consumption by bringing innovative and game-changing services and propositions to market,” says CEO Ian McCaig.
“Encouraging and helping our customers to reduce energy consumption with insights and advice tailored to their own households and daily habits, may initially appear to go against our commercial sensibilities as an energy company, but we believe that empowering First Utility customers in this way will lead to longer-lasting relationships with them,” he adds.
First Utility rolled out smart meters to its customers four years, well ahead of most suppliers, and are now offering my:energy as standard to all customers.
Similar services have been rolled out in the US based on Opower’s technology, saving some $140 million across 10 million households, according to the company’s president and founder Alex Laskey.
“With First Utility… we are expecting to see similar results here in the UK and, most importantly, customers will be able to make insightful decisions about their energy consumption,” he adds.
For further information:
Communications giant O2 ventures into UK smart meter market (14-Feb)
Parliamentary committee warns of ‘uncertainties’ on smart meter rollout (17-Jan)
Smart meters may not change energy use long term, warns researcher (8-Sept 2011)
US energy management company Opower nudges into UK with First Utility deal (7-Jul 2011)
19 June 2012