Stuff utilities actually do (hint: you may want to steal these ideas)


By Liz Enbysk

SGN Managing Editor


So often we focus on the tech side of the smart grid but today we're turning the tables and looking at six marketing tactics electric utilities are using to evangelize consumers on the benefits of energy efficiency, demand response, electric choice and related programs. Scroll down and onto page 2 where you may find an inspiration or two worth trying yourself.


Power On! and more digital games from ComEd

Four interactive digital games designed to both entertain and teach players about energy efficiency, the benefits of grid modernization and managing a modern utility were debuted by ComEd last month. "Energy Efficiency 101," "Fast Fridge," "Smart Home," and "Power On!" are playable through and ComEd's Facebook page ( Some will also be available on Android Tablets and Apple's iPad. They are the first in a series of eight games; the remaining four will be released over the next few months. "The new games are a great preview for what's possible with the new smart grid technology and the smart home, as well as teaching players about existing ways to save energy and money," said Jennifer Montague , director of marketing for ComEd. Visit the game arcade >>


Texas rewards Biggest Energy Savers and Load Lighteners

Launched a year ago, the Biggest Energy Saver Campaign rewards utility customers who use their smart meter data to reduce energy usage and potentially lower their electric bills. It's sponsored by Grid21, whose founding partners include Oncor, CenterPoint Energy, Landis+Gyr and Itron. This year's campaign, which ran for a three-month period just ended - had two components. There's a residential Consumer Contest that rewards customers who reduce their energy usage the most compared to the same period the previous year. The other is a Lighten Your Load Sweepstakes that rewards customers who reduce electricity usage during the afternoon on set days. Read more about it >>


Learn smart grid benefits and win an iPad3 in Ontario

Residents of Ontario, Canada willing to learn about the benefits of a smart grid will be eligible to win one of five Apple iPad3s through a contest just launched by PowerStream, a municipally owned electric utility based in Ontario. Those interested register their intent to play at '' during the contest period which runs from Oct. 15 through Nov. 9. Then, by following PowerStream's Tweets on smart grid benefits @PowerStreamNews, participants can gain extra chances to win each time they promote the contest through Re-Tweets to their personal Twitter network. Read more about it >>


The hunt for Rhode Island's oldest refrigerator

National Grid has been running a search for Rhode Island's oldest refrigerator, inviting residents within its Narragansett Electric Company service territory to enter. The contest promotes the utility's refrigerator and freezer recycling program. The contest period ended Sept. 30 and we haven't heard which refrigerator was crowned the winner, but whoever owned it will receive a $1,000 Sears gift card towards the purchase of ENERGY STAR qualified products. Read more about it (pdf) >>

Promoting Electric Vehicle Week in San Francisco

PG&E joined with automakers and San Francisco's mayor last month to kick off the city' first Electric Vehicle Week. The goal is to make San Francisco the leading city for EV adoption and infrastructure. Visitors got a look at the latest model electric cars, including the Honda Fit, Toyota Rav4 EV and Nissan Leaf. And PG&E showed off its VIA Motors eRev pickup, a hybrid electric work vehicle that the utility says could save it as much as $10 million in fuel costs a year. Read more about it >>


Free electricity supply in New Jersey

Homeowners can qualify for free electricity supply under a referral program Constellation Power is running. The Power Circle referral program is available to residents in PSE&G, Jersey Central Power & Light and Atlantic City Electric service territories who choose Constellation as their residential electric supplier. Last month Constellation announced the first customer to win free electricity. Robert Winder enrolled 17 friends and family members and saved $300 on his first electricity bill through the program. Constellation says Winder will continue to receive free electricity supply as long as he maintains 10 qualified referrals. Read more about it >>


Heard of other interesting marketing schemes utilities are using? Use the Talk Back comment form below to tell us about them.