Facebook, NRDC, Opower Debut Social Energy App

By David Cohen Comment

The partnership Facebook announced in October with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Opower finally came to fruition with today’s launch of a social energy application, in conjunction with 16 utilities.

The app allows Facebook users to compare energy usage in their homes with similar homes and their friends’ dwellings, as well as to energy-saving competitions and share conservation tips.

All Facebook users have access to the app, but members of the social network who are also customers of the following utilities can connect directly with their accounts, track their progress, and see their energy usage automatically updated every month:

  • Austin Utilities (Minnesota)
  • Burbank Water & Power
  • ComEd
  • Connexus Energy
  • Consumers Energy
  • Direct Energy (coming soon)
  • Glendale Water & Power
  • Loveland Water and Power
  • National Grid (New York and Massachusetts)
  • New Jersey Natural Gas (coming in 2012)
  • Owatonna Public Utilities
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  • City of Palo Alto Utilities
  • PPL Electric Utilities Corp.
  • Rochester Public Utilities
  • Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC

The three parties said additional partners and more functionality will be added to the app.

Marcy Scott Lynn, who leads Facebook Sustainability, said:

Facebook was designed to enable people to connect, share, and multiply their impact. This app is a powerful, easily accessible way for people on Facebook to do just that, inspiring conversations about really important topics — energy and the environment — that might not otherwise have taken place.

Opower Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Dan Yates added:

The level of enthusiasm we’re seeing from people who are excited about getting better context about their energy use, and share — even brag — about their energy efficiency within their social networks is inspiring. It demonstrates a shift within the industry for how people expect to interact with their utility. Having meaningful conversations with customers using social channels will soon become common in the utility industry.

And Brandi Colander, an attorney in the NRDC’s energy and transportation group, said:

If every household in the U.S. cut back on energy use by a mere 1 percent, that alone would cut more than $1.6 billion off of Americans’ annual energy bills. That’s the same as taking more than 1.2 million homes off the grid all together. This important tool will enhance energy literacy, making our daily energy choices more transparent and empowering people to make smarter, more economical decisions.