Tuesday, August 30, 2016

MyEnergy helps you track and conserve


As we move deeper into the air conditioning season, I'm keeping a closer eye on my utility bills. And my neighbor's bills, too. By comparing what I'm charged for electricity to what homeowners near me are paying, I can apply the Goldilocks test: Is my bill too high, too low or just right?  

My power comes from Duke Energy, one of many utility companies that let customers create an online account and log in to track energy costs and usage over time. 

But how did I find out what someone in my area is paying for their electricity without getting a peek at their monthly bill or reading their electric meter?

I found a place where people voluntarily share information about their energy usage. It's a free Internet-based service called MyEnergy that will link to your utility companies to collect and organize your data.

For me, the system charted my energy use by month back to November of 2011. I could tell immediately that July was my peak month and that last July cost me more than the same month in 2012. I have a similar chart for water and natural gas usage.

The idea behind MyEnergy is that consumers will care more about conserving energy if they have access to data and tools to help them. By tracking their energy use, people will become more aware of and concerned about costs and consumption and be motivated to do something about it.

Comparing usage to other homeowners is another incentive. Users who choose to share their information can compare their data with others in the same neighborhood, city or region. Saving energy becomes a competition with MyEnergy providing the scoreboard. I discovered that my electricity bill for April was significantly higher than the average bill for users in my area. That was enough to get me to walk around the house turning off lights and appliances, and to read the website's tips for reducing costs.

As a further incentive, MyEnergy estimates your future energy use and gives reward points if you use less. So far, I have about 1,000 points that I can use to buy business cards, a water bottle or cosmetics. 

MyEnergy is owned by Nest, the company that makes smart thermostats that learn your energy usage patterns and can be controlled remotely from a mobile phone or tablet. Utility companies also can get access to Nest thermostats, in homes where the owners allow it, to adjust temperature setting during peak demand times. With that kind of arrangement, homeowners would be able to save energy and reduce costs, without exerting much energy of their own.


Written by

Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


Post a Comment


© 2013-2017 GizmoEditor.com. All rights resevered. Designed by Templateism Templateism

Back To Top