The web-based technology delivers real-time information on electricity consumption, and engages, motivates and empowers customers to cut electricity use through goal setting, task selections, rewards, social networking and comparative results shared among the towns.
The six municipal light plants participating are Braintree, Danvers, Hingham, North Attleboro, Wakefield and Wellesley.
GroundedPowers Customer Engagement System couples real-time energy monitoring and home area networks with content-rich Internet-based tools to guide consumers toward deeper and more sustainable energy savings.
The program will seek to reduce average monthly electricity use and peak demand among participants by an average of 10 percent or more. Some 300 homes, 50 in each town, along with a number of municipal buildings, will be provided with GroundedPowers software linked either to the companys building monitor or to a smart meter.
According to John Tzimorangas, general manager of Hingham Municipal Light Plant, "what attracted us to GroundedPowers technology is that it goes well beyond other home monitoring and in-house display systems, many of which we've tried in the past.
We think GroundedPowers customer engagement system will achieve significant energy savings as customers set goals, discover opportunities for savings and are recognized for results. This benefits both our customers and our communities as we look to reduce energy and environmental impacts."
Richard Joyce, director of Wellesley Municipal Light Plant, said, "the GroundedPower programs foundation is based on behavioral characteristics we identified in our time-of-use pilot program as being the most critical for any successful energy conservation program. The inclusion and emphasis on these characteristics, and the expertise provided by GroundedPower, virtually ensures a successful deployment in Wellesley." Joyce noted that the Wellesley Town Hall is to be included in the pilot "to gain insight into how the display of real-time information can help building managers and occupants work together to cut energy use."
The home area networks will include wireless monitors and a wireless gateway that uploads real-time data to web-enabled software. This system will be installed in each participating home and building, with the exception of Danvers where smart meters are being piloted and will be used in place of the GroundedPower monitor.
Participants receive detailed real-time information on how much electricity is being used and how much it costs. By using a task selection tool, the homeowner can select from some 150 actions and see how much each action will contribute to their energy savings.
In addition, customers will participate in a web-enabled communications network to share energy savings experiences and to help achieve individual and collective energy savings goals.
Paul Cole, CEO and founder of GroundedPower said the GroundedPower Customer Engagement System is designed to place energy use into a larger social context.
It appeals to different motivations, according to Cole, while delivering easy-to-use tools to reduce consumption and demand. "Goals, tasks to achieve goals, timely and relevant feedback, rewards, and the ability to measure one's progress against others are all important factors. Our system pulls these elements together and presents them in a very systematic, easy-to-use way to achieve deeper, more sustainable savings," said Cole.
"I applaud these municipal light companies for providing customers with smart meter technology and other services that will help them understand the amount of energy they use, how they are using it, and ways to reduce their consumption - and electric bills - through energy efficiency," Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Philip Giudice said. "Pilot projects such as this are helping the Commonwealth emerge as a national leader in energy innovation and efficiency."
The pilot program will begin in November with installation of wireless energy monitors in homes and municipal buildings and will run for at least a year.
Customers of the six municipal electric companies interested in participating should contact their local company and request an application. A broadband Internet connection is required, as is a willingness to be an active participant throughout the pilot.
Once customers have been selected, the local electric company will schedule a time for installation of the monitor and guide customers through the set up of their password protected access to their individual data.
A 100-home pilot is underway on Cape Cod and Marthas Vineyard as part of the Cape Light Compacts 2009 energy efficiency program to advance innovative new technology like Grounded Powers home energy monitoring system.
"Cape Light Compact experienced an incredible response when we offered the Smart Home Energy Monitoring Pilot to our customers," said Residential Program Coordinator Briana Kane. "Our pilot participants have been actively engaged by this innovative technology, which enables them to monitor their daily energy use and compare it with like households in the program. It also gives participants practical tools and tips to help them reach their personal energy savings goals. We are currently evaluating the pilot and are awaiting the results due out in mid-2010."