Grid 21 Partners Search for Biggest Energy Saver
Technology Companies and Utilities launch campaign to spur innovation and empower customers
2011-06-13T05:00:00Z

Technology Companies and Utilities launch campaign to spur innovation and empower customers.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 13, 2011) — Grid 21, a new non-profit organization committed to engaging electricity customers in using a new generation of tools and technologies to better manage their electricity consumption, is partnering with Texas-based utilities Oncor and CenterPoint Energy, as well as San Diego Gas & Electric in California to launch the Biggest Energy Saver CampaignSM.

In addition to Oncor, CenterPoint and San Diego Gas & Electric, founding partners of the campaign are Itron and Landis+Gyr. IBM is a collaborator on the campaign. The campaign is the largest of its kind in the nation and will jumpstart the market for customer-friendly energy-management tools, while demonstrating to customers the benefits made possible by using information from smart meter technology.

The Biggest Energy Saver Campaign will feature a customer-savings contest sponsored by Grid21.  The campaign will also drive the creation and use of customer-friendly tools for managing home energy consumption. By giving customers easy ways to access and utilize the data provided by their smart meters, the Biggest Energy Saver Campaign will help customers make more educated decisions about their energy consumption controlling their energy costs.

One component of the Biggest Energy Saver Campaign is a nationwide call to create applications that will enable customers to better monitor and control their home energy usage. Software application developers will be vying for prizes totaling up to $150,000.

At the first White House Grid Modernization Event held earlier today, emphasis was stressed about bringing products and services to market to transform the way Americans use energy. More than 150 executives gathered to hear this message and address hurdles standing in the way of modernizing the electric grid, which is based largely on 1960’s technology.

In Texas, one grand prize winner from each participating utility’s service area will receive the Grand Prize of a new electric vehicle while the first-place winners will receive a suite of GE smart appliances that are equipped to talk to the smart meter and empower consumers to make smarter, more informed decisions on how they consume energy.

“There have been dozens of pilot programs involving smart meters across the United States, and consistently customers have reduced their energy usage and controlled their costs. Now the time has come to move beyond pilot programs and into full implementation because customers deserve it,” said Steve Hauser, Executive Director of Grid 21. “Customers are the most important component of any business and what electric utility customers are telling us is that they want the ability to better manage their energy consumption and cost. The Biggest Energy Saver will introduce tools and capabilities to customers who can then use them for the contest and in their daily lives.”

In May 2011, San Diego Gas & Electric completed the rollout of smart meters to all its residential customers.  Smart meters are one of the foundational technologies to the nation’s smart grid.   On June 6, the utility filed the first comprehensive smart grid roadmap that outlines the San Diego region’s energy future over the next decade.  The goal of the roadmap is to empower customers with the latest technology and service choices.

In July, a select group of San Diego Gas & Electric customers will receive in-home devices that display data provided by the home’s smart meter. The displays allow customers to track and analyze their home energy usage in real-time, making it easier to monitor their energy-related spending throughout the month – encouraging them to save energy and participate in the contest. 

“Nearly 20 million advanced meters are expected to be installed by the end of 2012 in California and Texas alone,” Hauser said. “The smart meter-enabled home is a huge market that will continue to grow not only in these two states, but across the country.”

With more than 3 million meters installed across Texas, as well as other significant grid investments to improve reliability and grow the nation-leading wind energy portfolio, Texas electric customers will be the largest group of participants in the inaugural Biggest Energy Saver Campaign.

“Texas has always been a global leader in energy and innovation,” said Barry Smitherman, Chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. “We have a robust competitive market and are investing billions of dollars to improve our power grid, supporting cleaner generation and improving reliability. We couldn’t be more proud to have the two largest utilities in Texas with the broadest deployment of advanced meters leading the way through this new 21st century technology.”

The contests will run later this summer. Complete contest rules and registration will be available on the Biggest Energy Saver website at www.BiggestEnergySaver.com beginning mid-July. Until then, the website will serve as an online resource for customers to engage in conversations about smart meters and how to use smart technology to cut back on their electricity consumption, controlling their cost and making a positive impact on the environment. 

***
About Grid 21
Grid 21 is a new non-profit organization, based in Washington, DC and national initiative to engage customers of electricity in using a new generation of tools and technologies to better manage their electricity consumption.  Contact:  Steve Hauser, 303-275-3122

About CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC, its electric transmission & distribution, subsidiary, as well as natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines, and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total more than $19 billion. With over 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. For more information, visit the company’s website at CenterPointEnergy.com.

Contact Floyd LeBlanc, 713.207.7125

About GE Appliances & Lighting
GE Appliances & Lighting spans the globe as an industry leader in major appliances, lighting, systems and services for commercial, industrial and residential use. Technology innovation and the company's ecomagination(SM) initiative enable GE Appliances & Lighting to aggressively bring to market products and solutions that help customers meet pressing environmental challenges. General Electric (NYSE: GE), imagination at work, sells products under the Monogram®, Profile™, GE®, Hotpoint®, Reveal® and Energy Smart® consumer brands, and Tetra®, Vio™ and Immersion® commercial brands. For more information, consumers may visit www.ge.com Contact: Kimberly Freeman, 502-452-7819

About IBM
IBM is a trademark of IBM Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other company/product names and service marks may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries licensed exclusively through The Open Group.  Contact: Fabienne Guildhary, 917-472-3733

About Itron
At Itron, we're dedicated to delivering end-to-end smart grid and smart distribution solutions to electric, gas and water utilities around the globe. Our company is the world's leading provider of smart metering, data collection and utility software systems, with nearly 8,000 utilities worldwide relying on our technology to optimize the delivery and use of energy and water. Our offerings include electricity, gas, water and heat meters; network communication technology; collection systems and related software applications; and professional services. To realize your smarter energy and water future, start here: www.itron.com.  Contact: Sharelynn Moore, 509-891-3524

About Landis+Gyr
Privately held Landis+Gyr is the leading global provider of integrated energy management products tailored to energy company needs and unique in its ability to deliver true end-to-end advanced metering solutions. Landis+Gyr operates in more than 30 countries across five continents, and employs over 5,000 people with the sole mission of helping the world manage energy better. For more information please visit www.landisgyr.com.  Contact: Thor Valdmanis, 212-850-5696

About Oncor
Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC “Oncor” is a regulated electricity distribution and transmission business that uses superior asset management skills to provide reliable electricity delivery to customers. Oncor operates the largest distribution and transmission system in Texas, delivering power to approximately 3 million homes and businesses and operating approximately 118,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines in Texas. While Oncor is owned by a limited number of investors (including majority owner, Energy Future Holdings Corp.), Oncor is managed by its Board of Directors, which is comprised of a majority of independent directors. Contact:  Chris Schein, 877-426-1616

About San Diego Gas & Electric
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.5 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. Contact: April Bolduc, 877-866-2066

About Tendril
Tendril is the Energy Platform company, delivering end-to-end consumer engagement products, applications and services powered by Tendril Connect™—an open, secure and scalable platform that takes the complexity out of the Energy Internet and creates a dialogue between energy service providers and their customers. Delivering consumer engagement software, in-home products and applications as well as easy to integrate utility solutions such as Demand Response and Energy Efficiency, Tendril offers unparalleled insight into energy decisions, making the Energy Marketplace a reality. The company is venture backed by VantagePoint Venture Partners, Good Energies, RRE Ventures and GE. For more information, visit   www.tendrilinc.com   Contact: Sheila O’Neill, 303-324-7310

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CenterPoint Energy Provides Natural Gas Safety Tips to Help Keep Customers Safe in Severe Weather

MINNEAPOLIS – July 17, 2017 – While summer conditions are here for Minnesotans, the threat of severe weather can occur at a moment's notice. To help keep customers safe, CenterPoint Energy is sharing its natural gas safety tips. CenterPoint Energy customers should remember the following important information in the event of severe weather conditions:

  • Following a severe storm, be alert for leaking natural gas. If you smell, hear or see a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately on foot and tell others to do the same. Natural gas smells like rotten eggs;
  • Do not drive into or near a natural gas leak or a vapor cloud;
  • Once safely away from the area, call 911 immediately. Then call the pipeline operator to report the location and a description of the leak. CenterPoint Energy's emergency natural gas leak hotline is 1-800-296-9815. After receiving a call, CenterPoint Energy will promptly dispatch a trained service technician;  
  • If natural gas is leaking, do not switch lights on or off, smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone, drive a car, or operate anything that may cause a spark, including a flashlight or generator;
  • Do not attempt to turn off your natural gas service at the meter. Meters maintain proper line pressure and prevent water from entering pipes if flooding occurs. Improper operation of natural gas valves could make the situation worse;
  • To turn off natural gas service inside your house, turn the natural gas valve off at each appliance;
  • If your home was flooded, call a licensed plumber or natural gas appliance technician to inspect your appliances and natural gas piping to make sure they are in good operating condition before calling CenterPoint Energy to reconnect service. This includes outdoor natural gas appliances, such as pool heaters, natural gas grills and natural gas lights; and
  • Before cleaning up debris, or possibly excavating near underground natural gas lines and other utility lines, call 811 – the national Call Before You Dig number – to ensure underground utilities are properly located and marked.

 

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also owns 54.1 percent of the common and subordinated units representing limited partner interests in Enable Midstream Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp., which owns, operates and develops natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With more than 7,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years. In Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy is the state's largest natural gas distribution utility, serving about 840,000 customers in 260 communities. The utility also operates a non-regulated business in Minnesota called Home Service Plus®. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.

 

CenterPoint Energy named a 2017 Most Trusted Brand

HOUSTON – July 13, 2017 – CenterPoint Energy earned a 2017 "Most Trusted Brand" designation, making it one of the nation's most trusted utilities according to a new Cogent Reports™ study by Market Strategies International. The Utility Trusted Brand and Customer Engagement: Residential study, now in its fourth year, benchmarks brand performance of 130 electric and natural gas utilities on a quarterly basis among 59,823 utility consumers.  The study measures Brand Trust through scoring six factors among residential customers – customer focus, company reputation and advocacy, community support, communications effectiveness, environmental dedication and reliable quality.

"We have made substantial investments over the last several years to enhance the safety and reliability of our natural gas system and to improve our service to customers," said Gregory E. Knight, senior vice president and chief customer officer for CenterPoint Energy. "We believe being named a 'most trusted brand' clearly demonstrates that customers value and appreciate these efforts."

This year, the utilities designated by Cogent as 2017 Most Trusted Brands score 40 points higher on brand trust than their industry peers and are more likely to receive positive sentiments from their customers in the study.  The annual study highlights a statistical relationship between brand trust and rate case support, and shows customers expect utilities to expand support for new offerings and community outreach as a result of rate increases. Additionally, customers who trust their utility are twice as likely to recommend those alternative energy products to other customers.

 

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also owns a 54.1 percent limited partner interest in Enable Midstream Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp., which owns, operates and develops natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With more than 7,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 140 years. For more information, visit the website at www.CenterPointEnergy.com.

CenterPoint Energy urges customers to be prepared for potential flooding and issues important electric and natural gas safety tips

HOUSTON – June 21, 2017 – CenterPoint Energy has been closely monitoring and preparing for Tropical Storm Cindy, which is anticipated to make landfall later today. The company urges customers to follow important pre-and post-storm electric and natural gas safety tips.

Electric

  • Stay away from downed power lines. Be especially mindful of downed lines that could be hidden in flood waters and treat all downed lines as if they are energized. 
  • If you experience flooding and water has risen above the electrical outlets in your home, contact a licensed electrician before turning on the main circuit breaker or trying to restore power. 
  • All electrical appliances and electronic equipment that have been submerged in water need to dry thoroughly for at least one week. Then, have them checked by a qualified repair person before turning them on. Attempting to repair a flood-damaged appliance could result in electrical shock or death. Attempting to restart it could result in further damage and costly repairs.
  • If the outside unit of an air conditioning system has been under water, mud and water may have accumulated in the controls. Have the unit checked by a qualified air conditioning technician.

Natural Gas

  • Do not turn off your natural gas service at the meter; doing so could allow water to enter the natural gas lines.
  • Be alert for the smell of natural gas. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately and tell others to leave, too.
  • If you smell gas, do not turn the lights on or off, smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone or operate anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
  • Do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off. Once safely away from the area, call 888-876-5786 and CenterPoint Energy will send a trained service technician.
  • If your home was flooded, call a licensed plumber or gas appliance technician to inspect your appliances and gas piping to make sure they are in good operating condition before calling CenterPoint Energy to reconnect service. This includes outdoor gas appliances including pool heaters, gas grills and gas lights.
  • Before cleaning debris, digging on your property or to locate underground natural gas lines and other underground utility lines, call 811 - the nationwide Call Before You Dig number.
  • Be aware of where your natural gas meter is located. As debris is put out for heavy trash pickup, make sure it is placed away from the meter. In many areas the meter may be located near the curb. If debris is near a gas meter, the mechanized equipment used by trash collectors could pull up the meter, damaging it and causing a potentially hazardous situation. If this happens, leave the area immediately and call CenterPoint Energy at 888-876-5786.

For the latest information on power outages:

CenterPoint Energy names 2016 Energy Efficiency Achievement Award recipients

MINNEAPOLIS – June 15, 2017 – CenterPoint Energy recently announced the three recipients of the 2016 Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) Energy Efficiency achievement awards at the 2017 Energy Efficiency and Technology Conference: Customer of the Year; Trade Ally of the Year; and Most Innovative Project of the year.

"We congratulate our winners and are confident that our Conservation Improvement Programs make it easier than ever for customers to become more energy efficient and save money on their monthly energy bills," said Brad Tutunjian, vice president of Gas Operations for CenterPoint Energy in Minnesota.  "Taking steps toward becoming energy efficient is good for consumers' wallets and the environment."

CenterPoint Energy's 2016 Energy Efficiency Achievement Awards:

  • 2016 Conservation Improvement Program Customer of the Year: General Mills, Inc.
    General Mills has demonstrated a long-term commitment to energy conservation. The company completed two major conservation improvement program projects in 2016.  This first was a project for custom-fit insulation jackets for 800 different steam fittings, saving 9,344 dekatherms (Dth) per year. General Mills said the technology shows promise for its other commercial and industrial sites.  The second project used CenterPoint Energy's Process Steam Trap Audit program to test 472 traps at General Mills' James Ford Bell Test Lab. The audit showed that 18 of the traps had failed. Replacements saved the company 4,436 Dth per year.
  • 2016 Trade Ally of the Year: State Supply
    In 2016, State Supply played an important role in facilitating and expediting natural gas rebates for their customers. The company's focus on steam trap projects enabled CenterPoint Energy to set new savings records for prescriptive rebates and steam trap repair/replacement rebates.  State Supply's commitment to their customers, as well as to CenterPoint Energy's Conservation Improvement Program, resulted in more than 157,557 Dth of savings. 
  • Most Innovative Project of the Year: Utepils Brewing
    Utepils Brewing is a new micro-brewery located on the west side of Minneapolis. In 2016, the company installed state-of-the-art German brewery technology involving heat recovery and vacuum de-pressurization. This step helped  decrease the energy consumption of the brewing process by 70 percent.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who participated in our CIP programs in 2016 and helped achieve record natural gas savings of just over 2.0 billion cubic feet.  The savings during 2016 were the equivalent to the annual natural gas usage of 22,200 residential homes and the emissions savings were the equivalent to removing 17,800 cars from the road for one year," added Tutunjian.

CenterPoint Energy is committed to energy conservation and has been a leader in delivering Conservation Improvement Programs in Minnesota since 1992.  The company has significantly increased its energy efficiency programs to help residential and business customers lower their energy costs. In addition to foodservice equipment rebates, the company offers rebates for high-efficiency heating systems, water heaters, industrial process equipment and custom projects for commercial and industrial businesses.

To learn more about how to get started saving money and being more energy efficient today, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/SaveEnergy.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also owns 54.1 percent of the common and subordinated units representing limited partner interests in Enable Midstream Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp.,  which owns, operates and develops natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With more than 7,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years. In Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy is the state's largest natural gas distribution utility, serving about 840,000 customers in 260 communities. The utility also operates a non-regulated business in Minnesota called Home Service Plus®. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.

CenterPoint Energy celebrates World Blood Donor Day by helping raise awareness of the need for all blood types

HOUSTON – June 14, 2017 – Today is the World Health Organization's World Blood Donor Day, raising awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and thanking blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

CenterPoint Energy strives to make a positive difference in the communities served. The company's blood drive program addresses a critical need – the need for life-saving blood. In 2016, CenterPoint Energy employees donated 4,787 units of blood, which is enough to impact 14,361 lives.

"Lending a helping hand is a strong part of our company culture. Our charitable giving and employee volunteerism strategy are guided by our core values and desire to be a valuable part of the communities we serve," said Diane Englet, senior director of Corporate Community Relations for CenterPoint Energy.

In partnership with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, which serves the world's largest medical campus, CenterPoint Energy employees in Houston have collected 67,725 units of blood since 2002, enough to save more than 203,000 lives. Several drives went beyond being held at the company's facilities and engaged community partners to support collection efforts.

To see what CenterPoint Energy is doing in the community, please visit CenterPointEnergy.com/Community.