Social media has matured to the point where utilities can leverage the tool as an effective and low-cost way to help achieve electronic billing (e-bill) adoption goals. The use of social media among consumers is pervasive, offering a new, low-cost and effective entry point for utilities to reach their customers. By understanding industry trends and adopting best practices, utilities can leverage social media to complement a comprehensive, integrated and effective e-bill marketing program that will increase visibility and engagement of electronic, or paperless, billing.
This week, 42 cities and counties across California launched the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program, enabling homeowners and commercial property owners to pay off energy- and water-efficiency improvements through their property tax bill. Since its inception in 2011, the HERO program has been adopted by more than 200 communities across the state.
Grid-connected residential photovoltaic (PV) solar installations coupled with energy storage is predicted to grow tenfold to reach more than 900 MW globally in 2018, up from just 90 MW in 2014, according to IHS Technology, largely driven by the increasing attractiveness of PV for self-consumption, subsidies and increasing interest from homeowners in becoming more independent of the electric grid.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) is poised to move ahead on its promise to adopt energy-efficiency standards for plug-in digital devices, including desktop computers, monitors, displays and other devices later this month. The recent publication of a research report by the University of California, Irvine for the CEC showing the large amounts of electricity wasted by computers in California demonstrates the economic burden, the undue waste and costs these devices place on consumers. New standards for these devices are long overdue.
Denver, Colorado has announced a plan that will unlock $1.3 billion in energy savings through a targeted effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy used by commercial and multi-family buildings. So far, 57 building owners have committed to benchmarking and measuring their performance.
Commercial and industrial customers in the United States are satisfied with their existing electricity and energy service providers and, for the most part, do not intend to switch providers at the end of their contracts. That is according to a Frost & Sullivan survey of 250 medium and large commercial and industrial companies across five verticals, including manufacturing, data centers, hospitals, small franchises, and education.
Computers consume significant amounts of energy even when they are not in use, and computer users don't even realize it, meaning lost opportunities to save energy, according to the results of two studies commissioned by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and conducted by the California Plug Load Research Center.
The Water Well Trust has received a $140,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Household Water Well Systems program for a project to increase potable water availability to rural households in northwest Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Energy Upgrade California, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the University of California's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory have named the winners of the CoolCalifornia City Challenge-- a competition among 10 California cities to reduce their carbon footprint and better manage energy use. Beginning April 1, 2014, the cities were judged based on the points earned by individual households, small businesses, and teams on the community by tracking their energy use and vehicle emissions.
Utilizing the same $6 billion in unsubsidized Treasury rate loans available each year through the RUS Electric Program, the new RUS Energy Efficiency & Conservation Loan Program (EECLP) offers non-profit utilities serving rural areas financing to make capital investments on the customer's side of the meter, such as energy-efficiency improvements, distributed renewable energy systems, and smart grid solutions, for the first time.