Utilities in Southwest Washington are logging onto the rapidly changing world of social media, in hopes of getting customers to use less power.
The Bonneville Power Administration wonders if text messages and Facebook networks can get people to save electricity. Some customers of Cowlitz Public Utility District will get direct emails and text messages telling them how much power they’re using in their homes, along with advice on how to reduce it.
Clark Public Utilities is inviting customers to use a Facebook application to compete with each other, to see who can save the most energy.
"To us, energy efficiency is definitely a lot more than a game," says Summer Goodwin, who supervises the pilot projects for BPA. "But we are looking at it like 'game-ification' is something that’s interesting to a whole lot of people, and it could be a way to entice them into learning about energy efficiency."
And that could lead people to use less electricity, as a result.
Snohomish County’s Public Utility District is running an "energy-efficiency contest," too, but it’s among Starbucks shops.