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TEP hopes new program will help reduce energy usage

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TEP hopes new program will help reduce energy usage

Company will mail reports detailing how residential customers cans save

  • jnpoulus/Flickr

Home energy reports will be mailed to 25,000 customers of Tucson Electric Power as part of a two-year pilot program to help reduce energy consumption and lower electric bills.

Customers will receive six letters per year. The first batch of letters will be sent by Oct. 21 and it will take about a month for all of the customers to receive them.

The first round of customers to get the mailers were randomly selected from a group with records of above-average energy consumption. 

"It offers some perspective to the customer and helps raise their awareness," said TEP spokesman Joseph Barrios.

The program is paid for by a surcharge collected every month from customers. The program is expected to cost $380,000 for the first year. 

The information gathered in the reports is based on research that combines TEP's energy-usage data with Pima County property records. These records show residence size, age, construction type and other characteristics that could contribute to energy usage.

"The amount a person will save varies on the customer and upon their willingness to follow up on the various tips that they will receive over time," said Barrios.

The reports will show the customer's energy usage compared with their neighbors. The reports also will provide advice specific to each home on how to save energy, depending on the size and age of the house.

"Learning that you're using more energy than other similar households can be a real incentive to make some positive changes," said Denise Smith, director of Demand Side Resources for TEP, in a press release. 

Subsequent reports will be given to customers to show the effectiveness of their efforts. In the second year of the program, TEP will add an additional 15,000 customers to the mailing list. 

Those who receive the reports could reduce usage by an average of 2 to 3 percent, according to OPower, the company developing the program for TEP. OPower and has helped to develop similar programs for more than 60 utility companies across the country.

The program is projected to save customers a combined $1.5 million on their electric bills while reducing usage by more than 16,000 megawatt hours, which is enough to power nearly 1,500 home for a year, according to the press release.

"We hope that they will be able to use a little less energy and reduce their electric bills," Barrios said.

Customers who were not initially selected for the program, can call TEP at 623-7711 or email to request to be added to a waiting list. Wait-listed customers will receive their first report in about six months.

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