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CUB Launches New Energy-Saving Program That Cuts Utility Bills by Average of $200 Annually; Includes Rewards Program
Jun 02, 2010 (12:06 PM EDT)
NEW WEBSITE WILL BE FIRST IN THE COUNTRY TO REWARD CONSUMERS FOR ENERGY REDUCTIONS WITH POINTS REDEEMABLE AT AREA MERCHANTS
CHICAGO, June 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Expanding on a pilot program that saved users an average of $200 annually on utility bills, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) Wednesday launched the nation's first online service that rewards users for documented reductions in their energy usage.
With the debut of www.CUBEnergySaver.com, CUB is providing every Commonwealth Edison customer in Illinois with an opportunity to visit a website, obtain recommendations for curbing energy consumption that are tailored to each household, and earn points that are redeemable with hundreds of local and national businesses. The first 10,000 ComEd customers who join CUB Energy Saver will be eligible for the rewards program.
At a news conference announcing CUB Energy Saver, CUB Executive Director David Kolata said the state-of-the-art website is the result of a unique partnership involving the nonprofit CUB and two New York City-based companies: Efficiency 2.0, a leading energy-efficiency program administrator to the utility industry, and RecycleBank, a rewards program that motivates consumers to take greener actions.
"At a time when families are trying to cut costs wherever they can, CUB Energy Saver will help them reduce their energy bills in ways that have never been possible before," Kolata said. "This technology helps consumers pinpoint exactly what their individual household can do to curb energy usage, monitor the results, and earn points redeemable for deals on groceries, gift cards, apparel, restaurants, home goods and much more based on how much they reduce their bills. CUB Energy Saver is a win-win for our pocketbooks and the planet."
A pilot version of CUB Energy Saver has been showing participants how to cut their energy usage by an average of about 6 percent, for savings of roughly $200 a year. CUB's service is the nation's only online resource that tailors a personalized energy-savings plan based on actual electricity bills and then rewards subscribers for cutting usage and costs.
Unlike other online energy-savings calculators that provide generic tips and average savings, CUB's service leverages a wealth of information to personalize energy-efficiency recommendations for each Illinois household. CUB Energy Saver (Powered by Efficiency 2.0 software) recommends customized efficiency actions and purchases in the same way that Amazon recommends products and Netflix suggests movies.
By taking into account personalized energy end-use and demographic information obtained from millions of sources, including property records, energy-usage history, U.S. Census and other government data, weather analysis, and neighborhood information, each household receives a unique and dynamic energy-savings plan.
CUB Energy Saver users who connect with their ComEd account will receive monthly e-mails updating them on how their actions are directly impacting their power bills, along with suggestions on how to improve. Non-ComEd customers can also use the service to build a money-saving plan for their homes, but at this time, they do not have access to the rewards program. CUB hopes to work with other Illinois utilities to enhance the service.
The first 10,000 households to link their CUB Energy Saver account to their ComEd and RecycleBank accounts will earn 100 RecycleBank Points just for joining the program and are eligible to earn more points for ongoing energy reductions. Points can be redeemed for rewards from major retailers and brands such as Nature Made®, Coca-Cola, CVS/pharmacy, Huggies, Purex® Natural Elements™, McDonald's®, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Dick's Sporting Goods. Local reward partners include Leona's, the Chicago Children's Museum, Carson Pirie Scott, County Fair Foods, Treasure Island, The Olive Mountain, Barbara's Bookstore, and SciTech Hands On Museum.
"Energy efficiency isn't about sacrifice," Kolata said. "CUB Energy Saver proves that it pays, literally, to be efficient—and that fuels the economy."
"RecycleBank first began as a rewards program motivating households to recycle," RecycleBank President Matt Tucker said. "The next phase of RecycleBank is rewarding people for a broader set of greener actions including energy conservation. CUB Energy Saver is a great way to educate people on energy reduction and motivate them to take greener action. We are proud to team up with CUB and Efficiency 2.0 to help Illinoisans earn valuable rewards for reducing energy consumption."
"We are proud to partner with CUB and RecycleBank to launch the first program where consumers can earn points based on how much they reduce their energy costs," Efficiency 2.0 CEO and Founder Tom Scaramellino said. "We are committed to making energy use transparent to consumers and advising them in a personalized and compelling manner on how they can save money, get rewards, and use energy more wisely."
All the CUB Energy Saver website needs is a consumer's address and ComEd account information to build a home's money-saving plan of action and track savings over time. However, the more information people give—about their homes, lifestyle, and habits—the better the plan CUB Energy Saver will build to help consumers control their energy costs.
Knowing that money doesn't grow on trees, the website enables consumers to choose among hundreds of energy-saving actions that can be customized according to the user's preference—from free or low-cost actions as simple as washing clothes in cold water to more expensive household upgrades, such as buying an energy-efficient refrigerator.
Communities, groups, and colleges and universities can compete to save the most energy and win a grand prize of up to 10,000 Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs. Also, for a limited time everyone who signs up for CUB Energy Saver will receive a free CFL.
CUB Energy Saver also sports Facebook-style features that enable users to create their own blog and form groups. Plus, users can view a colorful map allowing them to see how their energy savings compares to others in the neighborhood. This "greening up with the Joneses" approach is designed to build community involvement to increase energy savings.
CUB is Illinois' leading nonprofit utility watchdog organization. Created by the Illinois
Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, CUB has saved consumers more than $10 billion by
helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds. For more information, call CUB's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-669-5556 or visit www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
About Efficiency 2.0
Efficiency 2.0 is a leading energy efficiency software and program administration company. We deliver efficiency and demand response benefits to our utility and government partners at unprecedented scale by maximizing household engagement. Our programs and software leverage consumer marketing tactics, sophisticated energy end-use algorithms, and personalized recommendation engines to help consumers and businesses across the country better manage their energy costs. Efficiency 2.0 is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit www.efficiency20.com.
RecycleBank® motivates people to recycle and rewards consumers for taking greener actions with points that can be redeemed from participating local and national business partners. Through collaboration and innovation, RecycleBank is helping to create a culture that encourages people to take simple steps towards greener lifestyles. With new products and services like residential recycling, product reuse, expanded e-waste recycling, responsible disposal or simply focusing on using what already exists in the world today, we believe that making greener choices shouldn't feel at all like a trade off. It should be a trade up, and so RecycleBank rewards you every step of the way. RecycleBank currently provides service to over one million people across the U.S. and the U.K. and has been recognized with a number of business and environmental awards, including being named as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum and as a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environmental Programme. RecycleBank is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit www.RecycleBank.com.
SOURCE Citizens Utility Board