Minnesota DOC approves MyMeter energy-use behavioral program

The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources determined the MyMeter program demonstrated significant energy savings reductions because of residential customers’ behavioral changes as a result of their interaction with MyMeter in a Minnesota multi-utility initiative, Accelerated Innovations (AI) announced recently.

The recent impact evaluation conducted by Illume Advising LLC quantified the positive impact of MyMeter on participant energy usage. These approved and verified findings allow the Minnesota participating utilities to claim behaviorally induced energy savings in program year 2013 per application of the Average Savings Method used in the evaluation.

Average annual savings for residential customers ranged across the four participating utilities from 1.8 percent to 2.8 percent for customers who opted in to MyMeter. These savings are roughly 20 percent higher than claims by other behavioral energy efficiency programs. Savings persisted at a steady level during the first two years of participation and were higher for participants with higher baseline usage. The evaluation found that participants who engaged with the energy-use feedback portal during more than a six-month period achieved nearly double the savings (approaching 4 percent).

This engagement creates a level of transparency that for the first time allows customers insight and understanding of how they are consuming energy, how much they are using and how to control and reduce their energy use.

“Customers who engage MyMeter for longer periods of time tend to save at higher rates,” according to the Illume evaluation.

Anne Dougherty, founding advisor for Illume Advising, called the AI MyMeter evaluation “the best-case scenario for an evaluator.”

“The program implementer, utility, regulator and evaluator were all committed to creating the most rigorous evaluation possible to assess the impact of the MyMeter platform,” Dougherty said. “It is a rare thing to have this level of collaboration in evaluation work, and we hope it is a model that the industry will increasingly embrace. It took full transparency and open communication on the part of Accelerated Innovations to bring these parties together. In the end, it really paid off.”

From its launch in 2008, MyMeter has been helping residential and commercial customers better understand their energy usage and has given them the tools to help manage that usage.

MyMeter’s service platform is in use at dozens of electric, gas and water utilities across the U.S. and recently has seen its business go international.

The program helps utilities give customers more awareness and control of their energy use as demonstrated by the reduced consumption, said Mark Brown, chief operating officer for AI.

“The utilities benefit, as well, with, among other things beyond energy savings, improved customer satisfaction, reduced calls about high bills and opportunities to recruit customers into other load management and efficiency programs,” Brown said. “By providing tools for energy-use feedback, alerts, analytics and prepaid billing, we become a trusted partner helping utilities strengthen customer engagement.”

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