CPS draws on psychology to motivate customers to cut energy use in new program – mySanAntonio.com

By Samantha Ehlinger, Staff Writer

Photo: Courtesy CPS Energy /Courtesy CPS Energy

CPS draws on psychology to motivate customers to cut energy use in new program

CPS Energy is using behavioral science techniques, and some high-tech data analysis, in a new program that taps on deeply rooted psychological drives to reduce energy usage during peak times.

The pilot program will be rolled out to up to 100,000 customers this summer and uses data culled from the companys new smart meters to influence consumer behavior. The strategy itself is relatively simple: showing customers their energy consumption compared with their neighbors and letting their competitive instincts do the rest.

Plucking on their competitive spirit, you can get them to reduce their energy use, anywhere between 1 and 3 percent over the course of a year, said Neel Gulhar, a senior director of product strategy at Oracle Utilities. CPS has contracted with the company to run the program.

Oracle Utilities draws on behavioral science techniques to motivate the change. The most-used technique, according to Gulhar, is called normative comparison.

This is where you compare the energy use of a household to households that are like them, he said, later adding, Time and time again we find that if you use these different behavioral science techniques you can actually change behavior.

Competition is a deeply rooted instinct in human nature, a biological trait that evolved along with the basic need for survival, social psychologist Sander van der Linden at Cambridge University wrote in Psychology Today.

To find out how the program works, click here on ExpressNews.com.

sehlinger@express-news.net

Twitter: @samehlinger

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CPS draws on psychology to motivate customers to cut energy use in new program - mySanAntonio.com

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