Knowledge about power gives consumers power
New program aims to inform Cheney residents about electricity use, conservation measures
A light left on, an aging refrigerator or a leaky window frame might not seem like a big deal. But add up the inefficiencies and the result could be a giant electric bill at the end of the month.
The problem is often a lack of awareness of what makes up a household’s utility bill, says Cheney Light director Joe Noland. This week, the city launched a free application on its website to allow residents to better understand their electric bills and provide tips to encourage conservation.
“You think about your power bill once a month when you pay it,” Noland said. “What we’re hoping to do is make people more mindful of their consumption.”
Cheney is contracting with Utah-based Enerlyte to provide electric customers with their monthly power usage data from the past two years. By clicking a link on the city’s website or visiting cheneywa.enerlyte.com, customers can create an account using their utility billing account number.
Once logged in, customers can view and compare their power bills over the past 24 months, analyze their energy use and learn about ways to conserve. Residents can also compare their bills with similar building sizes and types to see how they measure up, but Noland stressed that all data would be kept confidential.
“You’ll only actually be able to see your information,” he said, adding that neighbors and friends can “challenge” each other to see who uses less power, but both parties must agree to it.
“That’s where we’re hoping to get the competitive, peer pressure conservation,” he said.
The program, also available as an Android mobile app, allows residents to add data on their residence, including upgrades to windows, appliances, insulation and more, to get a more accurate reading and individualized tips. But Noland also hopes the program will help educate young people about the basics of their energy bill.
“A lot of students, this is their first apartment,” Nolan said. “They might think, it’d be nice to have a light on when I come home, but they’re not going to be back for 12 hours. They don’t always think about the usage and its connection to their bill.”
Cheney customers received a notice about the new program in their utility bills this month, and Noland hopes the promise of a smaller bill will drive people to try out the program. He said the more people participate, the more benefits can be seen for everyone.
At the end of the city’s yearlong contract, for which they pay 10 cents per month for each customer that uses the program, he said the city would review whether it had helped residents achieve conservation and lowered bills.
Currently, the program just shows total monthly usage, but Noland hopes to eventually track daily and even hourly usage to help people determine what’s using energy in their home during off-peak times, like late-night and daytime hours. If it works out, the city may add other utilities to the program.
Residents with questions about the program are encouraged to contact the city at 498-9230.
Becky Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.