Green Button for Energy Usage

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by Angela O'Connor:

"A new idea in energy technology is the Green Button – a tool built on the simple idea that any consumer should be able to securely download their energy usage from their utility – and use that information to easily, automatically better manage their energy use and reduce their energy bills.

If you want to save money you need to know how you’re spending it. Take Massachusetts for example – which has the seventh highest electricity rate in the country – consumers and business can turn energy savings into big savings in their electricity bills. The average electric rate there is 14.2 cents per kilowatt hour – well above the 10 cent national average.

Pretty simple, right?

Earlier this year, the “Green Button” program was launched, a voluntary and innovative created by the industry. The goal is to provide any American paying an energy bill – in a consumer and computer friendly format – easy access to their usage data simply by hitting a basic “Green Button” on the their utility’s website. TheObama Administration, recognizing the cost savings potential became an early advocate of the button and challenged industry to adopt this low-cost, high-return tool.

Armed with this technology consumers have the information they need to make wiser energy decisions utilizing energy efficiency and conservation. Nationally, dozens of utilities and companies are participating. Some 30 million households and businesses currently have access to this common sense tool.

New England utilities that have signed up include NSTAR and National Grid. In Worcester, National Grid is working on its first pilot in Worcester. So that means that a 68-year old widowed grandmother on a fixed income of Social Security and savings can track and manage and reduce her energy costs with a few clicks. The bang for efficiency is huge. All told, if we achieve a 15% reduction in electricity consumption by 2020, we can save consumers $46 billion on energy bills or $360 per customer every year.

Meanwhile, a number of companies are developing web and smartphone applications and services for businesses and consumers to further enhance the use of Green Button data. This is good news not only for energy users but the energy business too. InMassachusetts clean energy innovation jobs grew at 6.7% from 2010 to 2011." (