Opower and First Utility, the U.K.’s largest independent domestic energy company, today announced a new partnership to provide Opower’s home energy management program to First Utility customers. The program will be the first of its kind in the U.K. and is poised to help First Utility customers find ways to save on their bills. This is Opower’s first implementation outside of the United States.
The Opower program was also highlighted in the “Behavior Change and Energy Use Report,” issued by U.K. Prime Minister Cameron’s Behavioral Insights team and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The report outlines steps the government is taking to work with the private sector to address the energy challenges currently facing the U.K., including promoting a series of policies to alleviate rising energy prices for consumers, insulating residential homes, and reducing emissions to address climate change. A central feature of the U.K. government’s strategy is to deploy smart meters to every U.K. household by 2019, which could allow for the deployment of innovative energy management programs like Opower.
First Utility, the only U.K. energy company to offer smart meters to all of its customers, will use the Opower software platform to translate its customers’ smart meter data into a range of new energy-saving tools, including reports that offer comparative consumption information and household-specific analysis of consumption patterns, access to an online portal with detailed usage information, and high bill alerts designed to help customers avoid excessive bills while they still have time to change their usage. Customers will be engaged via mailed reports, web portal, email and SMS messages, as well as social media. This multi-channel engagement approach is designed to reach all demographic segments, regardless of age, income or access to technology, and drive a high level of customer engagement and energy savings.
As the first large-scale, information-based energy efficiency program in the U.K., Opower and First Utility intend to work in consultation with the Behavioral Insights Team in the Cabinet Office and DECC to assess the impact of this program to inform future smart meter policy. Energy savings from the program will be measured and verified independently by leading academics in the U.K., using data from smart meters.