Direct Energy Mass Markets

Direct Energy Mass Markets

May 20, 2009 06:00 ET

Consumers Save Up to 44 Per Cent in Energy Conservation Pilot

Direct Energy program demonstrates smart home technology can enable conservation

MILTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 20, 2009) - Results from a recent energy conservation pilot program in Milton, Ontario show dramatic savings for some participants, including up to 44 per cent energy savings during peak demand periods. The residents are part of the Direct Energy Smart Home Energy Conservation Program and research project.

The pilot was conducted from July, 2007 to September 2008 with 209 Milton Hydro households. The goal of the pilot was to not only test technology, but also gain insights into consumer behaviours and motivations for change. Participants were able to monitor energy usage, and remotely control their home's lighting and appliances with one easy-to-use web interface or a hand held device like a Blackberry. The portal and software, provided by Lixar SRS, provide the ability for two way communication with the thermostat in real time versus the alternative one way technologies. The program was developed in collaboration between Direct Energy, Milton Hydro, and Bell with independent analysis by the University of Waterloo.

Key highlights from the pilot included:

- The top 10 per cent of participants saved 16 per cent off their electricity usage over 12 months and saved 18 per cent off their consumption during peak periods

- A select group of participants saw savings of 44 per cent during provincial demand response periods

- Consumers were motivated by dollar savings and environmental benefits

- Larger homes saw the biggest impact on energy savings

"The study showed great potential for this kind of energy management tool," said Professor Ian Rowlands, University of Waterloo, who conducted the analysis on the results. "In the right circumstances home owners saw tangible benefits. At the same time we also saw the importance of developing a system that fits the lifestyle of busy families."

Developed by Bell in partnership with Lixar SRS, the Smart Home Energy Conservation Solution is a conservation demand management system. The solution provided participants with trending and analysis, allowing them to monitor their usage, and helped identify the high usage times and devices to allow them to adjust their behaviour accordingly to conserve.

The independent analysis by researchers at the University of Waterloo is being used to help generate new ideas for even more effective conservation programs in the future.

"Pilots like this provide us with valuable information that can help drive the mass adoption of these and other energy efficiency technologies," said David Dollihite, Vice President of Product Development. "Helping consumers find ways to save money and energy are important for all of us and Direct Energy is committed to helping lead this charge."

Stephane Boisvert, President of Bell Enterprise said, "Bell has always been very involved in community initiatives and the environment. As a green conscious corporate citizen, it is important to continue to innovate and explore new possibilities, understanding how technology can be leveraged to provide a more environment friendly use of our energy resources. This project clearly demonstrates that we are making progress and that residential customers and businesses can save money along the way."

The full study is available upon request at http://www.environment.uwaterloo.ca/research/greenpower/projects/smart.html

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in Texas, the northeastern United States and across Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit www.directenergy.com

About Milton Hydro

Milton Hydro Distribution Inc., owned by the Town of Milton, currently supplies electricity to over 25,000 residential and business customers through its distribution network. The Town of Milton is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and has been designated by the Ontario government as a priority location for the installation of smart metering. Milton Hydro has installed over 24,000 smart meters on homes and small businesses. Milton Hydro is now billing over 21,000 customers on Time of Use pricing with the remaining customers who have smart meters to be moved to TOU pricing by summer 2009. For more information on Milton Hydro, please call 905-876-4611 or visit www.miltonhydro.com

About Bell

Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and businesses with solutions to all their communications needs including Bell Home Phone local and long distance services, Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile wireless, high-speed Bell Internet access, Bell TV direct-to-home satellite and VDSL television, and IP-broadband and information and communications technology (ICT) services. Bell is proud to be a Premier National Partner and the exclusive Telecommunications Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. For information on Bell's products and services, please visit www.bell.ca. For corporate information on BCE, please visit www.bce.ca For Lixar SRS, please visit www.lixarsrs.com.

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