As the chief technology officer at Power2Switch, one of the more exciting aspects of my job is gaining a better understanding of how our customers use electricity and inventing ways to help them become better energy consumers. Our switch offerings provide you the opportunity to choose an electricity plan that matches your priorities. If you’re interested in saving money, we have plans that reduce your electricity supply rate by almost twenty percent. If you are an environmentally conscious consumer, we have plans that allow you to buy power from either partial or full renewable sources.
However, once you’ve made your switch, there wasn’t too much for us to do other than to get in touch in the future when your contract expired to help you select a new plan. We could help you make the purchase, but we didn’t help you track the value of that purchase over its lifetime.
That changes today. With a heroic amount of assistance from our supplier partners, we built tools to help you make more sense of your usage and to review what switching has done for you. Read on to learn more about the new tools we’re giving Power2Switch customers.
If you’ve logged into your Power2Switch account recently, you may have noticed an item to the left of your profile labeled “Residential Services“. There, we have built a collection of tools that help you go above and beyond your traditional electric bill.
On that page, you should see a small map of your location as well as a tab with graphs and tables. You’ll notice the first tab: Savings. This tab includes a chart that helps you track your cumulative savings using information that we retrieve from your electrical supplier. Since we retrieve data on a monthly basis, it may take some time for the savings to begin to add up. However, several months in to your switch, if you wonder how much you’ve saved, the Savings tab is the place to go.
The next tab is the Usage tab. Using the same data we gathered to calculate your savings, we can show you your historical power usage and how it compares to similar customers. At the moment, “similar customer” means Power2Switch users that share your rate class. Those in houses will be compared to others in houses (residential single rate class), while condo and apartment dwellers will be compared to each other (residential multiple rate class). In the future, we’ll refine our similarity matching to include details like location and square footage.
The CO2 Emissions tab shows how many pounds of carbon emissions your usage generates. Using CarbonFund.org’s methodology, we calculate that our customers generate 1.306 pounds of greenhouse gases for every kilowatt-hour consumed. If you have switched to a plan with a renewable energy component, we adjust your emissions estimate by the amount of renewable energy in your plan. If you selected something like Spark’s 100% Green Advantage plan (that’s my current plan), you can eliminate your carbon emissions altogether.
Finally, the History tab gives you a table that shows the plans you’ve selected for your particular location. Given how new switching is, this isn’t the most exciting part of the tool at the moment, but in several years it will be very useful to help you keep a historic perspective about the plans you have selected and how they varied.
We’re quite excited about these tools, and we look forward to refining and expanding them in the months ahead. While this is the first step on a long journey for us (wait until you see what we’re working on for smart meters!), please recognize that this is an initial release of new software. There are bound to be some issues, so please don’t be shy reporting them using our feedback widget (look to your left) or sending us a note using our contact form. Here is my list of things I will be addressing in future releases:
- Improved support for Ameren users. Currently we are only retrieving data for ComEd customers.
- Improved support for customers tracking more than one location.
- An interface that highlights the relationship between your power usage and external factors such as the weather.
If you have ideas or things that you would like to see, we’d love hear them. Please feel free to contact us or use the comment area below.
Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to serve you.