Energy Usage: would you earn a :) or :( ?

Sacramento has started sending out utility bills with either a smiley face or a frowny face to a random selection of customers to encourage energy conservation. The results: a 2% decrease in energy usage since the practice started. Initially the practice included a scale of 2 smiley faces in recognition of greater energy conservation in comparison to one’s neighbors, a single smiley for good energy conservation, and a frowny in the event that one used a substantial amount more energy than the neighbors. After complaints regarding the frowny faces, the utility company dropped frowny faces and only uses smileys now.

The approach has now been picked up by utilities in 10 major metropolitan areas eager to reap rewards through increased efficiencies, including Chicago and Seattle, according to Positive Energy, the software company that conceived of the reports and contracts to produce them. Following Sacramento’s lead, they award smiley faces only. (source)

So when will we expect to see smiley faces? Apparently we already are.

“This is the next wave,” Todd Stames, a residential energy efficiency manager with Puget Sound Energy, told the Times. The company stared a pilot program in suburban Seattle with 40,000 customers in September. (source)

I’m sad though, apparently Seattle City Light has not picked up the practice. Our latest electric bill was for $60 (Nov through Jan) so I suspect we could have earned two smiley faces. Fooey. Anyone seeing this on their bills yet? Have a picture? Please share.

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