Residents Save an Average of 17% on Reliant Innovation Avenue
Houston - June 6, 2012
Experience Reliant Innovation Avenue online to learn about smart energy, energy-saving tips, and more.
After living six months on the most energy-conscious block in the nation, Reliant Innovation Avenue residents have reduced their electricity usage by an average of 17%, proving what Reliant believed that when homeowners have access to innovative products and services that provide specific, real-time information about their electricity usage, many will take steps to change their habits and ultimately lower electricity use and costs.
Reliant established Innovation Avenue, which consists of 12 homes in a historic neighborhood near downtown Houston, in October 2011 as a “living laboratory” to garner unprecedented access to real-time, real-life consumer behavior regarding electricity use. Reliant worked with each family to provide a set of smart energy technology products and services developed by Reliant and its partners and then monitored their electricity usage and related costs. Given the tools and information, it was up to the residents to decide if or how they wanted to change their electricity use.
This six-month threshold marks the first milestone in terms of analyzing the consumer data since launching the project. Results to date reveal:
+ Access to specific, individual household information leads to better consumer understanding of consumption and options resulting in changes in behavior that lead to lower electricity usage and costs. Residents saw an average decrease of 17% in electricity used over the last six months as compared to the same period one year ago. The results varied by home and were based on services provided and the choices made by the residents after the technologies were installed in their homes.
+ The tools used most consistently to monitor and manage electricity usage were both the Reliant e-Sense® Weekly Summary Email and the Reliant e-Sense® Home Energy Monitor. The email gives a view of usage over the last week and provides a projected monthly bill amount and the monitor allows residents to regularly and easily track how much electricity they are using in real time. Several residents cited examples of instantaneous behavior changes based on a better understanding of peak-time use.
+ Installing solar panels has allowed one family on Innovation Avenue to create electricity, not just use it. Scott and Carol Beck’s home was outfitted with customized solar panels via Reliant Solar Solutions, a residential solar panel leasing program. In six months, the solar panels generated 1174 kWh of electricity, saving Scott and Carol 17% on their electricity cost and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 1,470 lbs. Their home also received a home energy checkup, smart appliances and home automation. Scott and Carol continue to use Reliant e-Sense® Account Management, Weekly Summary Email and Home Energy Monitor to learn about and track their electricity usage.
“Only six months after launching Innovation Avenue, the residents are clearly demonstrating that people can dramatically reduce their electricity usage when they understand more about their usage patterns and what the options are in terms of smarter choices,” said Reliant President Jason Few. “Our focus is always on the customer, and the real-time window that Innovation Avenue provides into customer behavior is unprecedented. As intended, the residents and our teams are learning. The two-way feedback and data is exceptionally valuable and we look forward to learning more in the coming months. It is encouraging to see these folks prove our theory that advanced energy technology works and is truly a viable option for our customers.”
What the Residents Learned
The Reliant Innovation Avenue program has been received well by the residents, many of whom have seen significant savings in both electricity and money as a result of the program.
"I just like seeing that our house is generating electricity instead of just consuming it. It's like having our own generating system in our house,” said resident Scott Beck. “My wife and I compared last year's October electricity bill to this year's October electricity bill, and we saved $100 between the two months, which is something we did not expect. Solar is going to be a plus every single year, especially if we continue to have these heat waves. You can’t beat it."
Residents feel more informed about their electricity consumption and empowered to take control of their electricity usage and monthly bills. One Innovation Avenue couple, Mike and Lorrenda Lechtenberg, altered their behavior and consumption significantly enough to reduce their usage by 36%.
“One of the tools that was provided was the Reliant e-Sense® Home Energy Monitor. Essentially it shows us our daily electricity usage throughout the day. We can look at the thermostat and see how that correlates to electricity usage on the e-Sense® Home Energy Monitor. It has almost become a game to try to eliminate the usage and decrease the amount of cost,” said Mike Lechtenberg. “We can see the direct impact on the monitor when the air conditioner has been running for two-to-three hours at a low temperature versus when we adjust it to a slightly higher temperature the next day. One day it will be $5 for electricity; the next day it's only $2. You start multiplying that by thirty days a month, and there's big savings there.”
Based on ongoing feedback from the families over the next two years, the Reliant team will continue to design and deliver smart energy technology for broader audiences.
This summer will mark the next phase of Innovation Avenue’s testing as residents participate in new Reliant pilot programs involving demand response and smart thermostats.
The Reliant Innovation Avenue project was launched in October 2011 with a special acknowledgement by the city of Houston. Reliant leads Texas in bringing the benefits of smart energy technology to consumers with more than 600,000 Reliant customers already using Reliant e-Sense® products and services.
Customers don’t have to live on Innovation Avenue to experience this kind of value. Any Reliant customer with a smart meter can sign up for a suite of smart energy solutions for free! Go to www.reliant.com/esense.
About Reliant: Reliant provides electricity, energy services and smart energy solutions to more than 1.5 million retail customers including homes, businesses, manufacturing facilities, government entities and institutions in Texas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As part of NRG (NYSE: NRG), Reliant is backed by a Fortune 500 company at the forefront of changing how people think about and use energy. NRG is a pioneer in developing cleaner and smarter energy choices for its customers and its diverse power generating facilities can support over 20 million homes nationwide. For more information about Reliant products and services, visit www.reliant.com.