Matt Kilcoyne, an efficiency analyst with the statewide energy-saving program Efficiency Vermont, shows homeowner Kelly Hackett spikes in her household electrical usage Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Waterbury, Vt. The new program, which provides reports customers can access online, aims to fulfill promised benefits of a new generation of so-called “smart” electric meters. (AP Photo/Dave Gram) (Dave Gram)
WATERBURY >> Efficiency Vermont will launch a new program next week about a new online tool consumers can use to save energy and money.
Jim Merriam, director of the Burlington-based nonprofit, said Friday the agency will send mailings to 100,000 Vermont households Monday to educate them about getting and using information from “smart meters” toward big savings.
Green Mountain Power Corp., the state’s largest electric company, installed the meters at many homes and businesses about 18 months ago. Among the benefits, smart meters make it unnecessary for utility meter readers to visit homes to gauge electricity usage, and also provide customers with information to pinpoint spikes in energy use toward finding ways to reduce consumption. The meters check usage levels every 15 minutes.
Efficiency Vermont, which contracts with the state and utilities to deliver energy savings, will provide recipients of the mailings a customized report about their monthly power use compared with the energy efficiency among a sample of neighbors.
Agency officials visited Waterbury resident Kelly Hackett for a demonstration Friday in her home, where she operates a day care. Matt Kilcoyne, customer support specialist with Efficiency Vermont, showed how he could call up Hackett’s account on a computer-tablet and pinpoint a big jump in power usage that began June 29 and continued through the summer. The spike increased Hackett’s monthly power bill about $ 40 to $ 176.
Kilcoyne determined the culprit was a dehumidifier in Hackett’s basement, kicking on as the weather turned warmer and more humid. He suggested Hackett put in gutters to carry water from the roof and away from the basement. A heat-pump water heater would cut water heating costs by $ 200 a year and also would reduce moisture in the basement’s air, Kilcoyne said.
“Matt (Kilcoyne) was spot on,” Hackett said.
The report for Hackett also showed she, her family and child care business used 793 kilowatt-hours in October versus an average for 100 nearby homes of 819 kilowatt-hour. It also showed she had room for improvement: The most efficient 20 percent of those hundred neighbors had reduced their average power usage to 285 kwh, the report showed.
Efficiency Vermont also pointed to potential savings of more than $ 300 a year from new water heaters, gutters and replacing halogen lights with more efficient LED bulbs in the day care classroom.