Consumer Trends

Latest Headlines

Latest Headlines

SMUD saving customer 80 percent on commercial energy bill

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) research and development, along with experts from SMUD's Savings by Design program are helping environmental services and information technology company Synectics to realize 80 percent savings on their energy bills.  Synectics and SMUD are collaborating on a new approach to more efficiently manage climate control in the office-- a warehouse Synectics is repurposing for use as office space. 

Utilities, EVs communicate in the cloud

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), utilities, regional transmission organizations, and auto manufacturers are demonstrating an advanced software platform for integrating plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) with smart grid technologies for two-way communication that would allow PEVs with varying technologies to work with power grids. The system will enable the utilities to send a message directly to the vehicle, asking it to stop charging temporarily as a way of helping a grid that is becoming overloaded.

SMBs want better sustainability programs

A majority of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) want better sustainability programs but are hindered by costs and a perception that such investments don't matter to customers, according to a survey by Cox Enterprises through its national sustainability program, Cox Conserves, which focuses on energy and water conservation and waste reduction.  

MO city latest to become Green Power Community

Webster Groves, Missouri is the latest city to have been officially designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Green Power Community (GPC). To become a GPC, the city, including local government, businesses and residents must collectively use enough green power to meet or exceed EPA's Green Power Community purchase requirements.

Utilities, major retailers uncovering multi-millions in energy savings

This year, the Environmental Defense Fund's EDF Climate Corps of fellows has uncovered $130 million in potential energy savings.  Since 2008, when the program began, more than 300 organizations have worked with EDF Climate Corps fellows to uncover energy savings in their own operations, including utilities and energy providers like Pacific Gas and Electric, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, New Jersey Resources, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, Southwestern Energy, TXU Energy, and Washington Gas.  

Microsoft procures its own clean energy

The procurement of renewable energy is part of Microsoft's goal of achieving and maintaining carbon neutrality and net zero emissions-- a commitment that Microsoft made beginning in its fiscal year 2013, which began on July 1, 2012, for its data centers, software development labs, offices and even employee air travel by increasing efficiency and purchasing renewable energy.

Energy Prize focuses on community, utility collaboration

The Georgetown University Energy Prize-- a $5 million national incentive competition that challenges communities across America to reduce their energy consumption by implementing creative strategies to increase efficiency-- requires local governments, residents, utilities, and others to work together to demonstrate success in sustainably reducing energy consumption.

The frenzy to divest fossil fuels

More than 800 investors worldwide are divesting their holdings in fossil fuels. The signatories, including foundations, individuals, faith groups, health care organizations, cities and universities around the world will make their divestiture commitment public today at the United Nations Climate Summit. Signers pledge to divest from fossil fuels over five years, taking a variety of approaches.

What they don't know about energy

Energy is as important to Americans as food, clothing and shelter. As I get to visit with people around the country on my  Just the Fracks  book tour I am learning a lot about what Americans think and know about energy. It seems that the further I get from areas that produce oil, natural gas and coal the less people know about where their energy comes from.

San Diego utility leveling the playing field for customers

"Many of our customers are being negatively impacted because they use more energy based on the geographic area in which they live or the size of their families. Our goal is to 'level the playing field' and to move rates for all customers closer to what it actually costs the utility to provide electric service," said Caroline Winn, SDG&E's vice president-- customer services.  "Unfortunately, below-cost rates have undermined the incentive to conserve, while punishing others who use more electricity with rates that are significantly higher than the cost to serve them."