July 28, 2015 - Hydro Ottawa says it is empowering residential customers to conserve energy on hot summer days with its latest initiative that uses gamification techniques. The company says it’s the first of its kind in Canada.
By Renée Francoeur
The Summer Saving Day pilot program runs until September and encourages customers to save electricity in their home through sending usage data, a comparative analysis of similar neighbours, and personalized tips on ways to lower demand on designated days.
About 50,000 customers were randomly chosen to voluntarily participate in the pilot. After a Summer Saving Day, Hydro Ottawa said they will notify participants how much electricity they used and show how their consumption ranked against about 100 neighbours.
“We’re always looking for new ways to help our customers manage their accounts and energy use—and the more exciting we can make it, the better,” said Bryce Conrad, Hydro Ottawa president and CEO. “Using gamification elements will hopefully inspire them to take positive action as it has shown to in the past.”
Hydro Ottawa is collaborating with Opower, a company that specializes in cloud-based software for the utility industry, and the Ontario Ministry of Energy, which is funding the program through its Smart Grid Fund.
Opower said it has seen a 3% decrease in energy demand across 10 similar events with three utilities, and 74% customer satisfaction.