Posts from "February 2013"

Our Thinking

Opower President Alex Laskey takes the stage at TED to explain the psychology of saving energy

  • By Carly Llewellyn
  • February 28, 2013

Yesterday, our President Alex Laskey took the stage at TED2013 – the annual conference of movers and shakers, who assemble to give awe-inspiring lectures about their ideas and vision for the world. Alex fit right in, sharing his insights on the “Psychology of Saving Energy,” and how Opower has tapped into it to help customers save more than $220 million on their energy bills in the past five years.

Alex was in great company: earlier in the day, Google co-founder Sergey Brin gave a presentation about the revolutionary Google Glass. Also in the spotlight was famed entrepreneur Elon Musk, who spoke about his groundbreaking initiatives on electric cars and space travel.

Alex Laskey at TED2013

Opower President Alex Laskey on stage at TED2013

Alex’s TED talk focused on the science behind Opower’s approach, in particular highlighting the work of the behavioral scientists Robert Cialdini and Wesley Schultz. In the early 2000s, Cialdini and Schultz set out to determine what motivates people to decrease their energy use, and arrived at an eye-catching conclusion. They found that one of the strongest motivators of energy conservation was giving people information on how their energy usage compares with that of similar homes in their neighborhood — a sort of peer pressure.

Behavioral science has always been central to Opower’s efforts to make the world more energy efficient, and the results of our behavior-based programs have been dramatic: in January, we achieved a milestone of achieving two terawatt hours of energy savings — enough to take all the homes in a city the size of Sacramento (~500,000 people) off the electric grid for a year.

Speaking at TED2013 was an exciting honor for Alex and for Opower. We can’t wait to share the full video of his talk in the near future.

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Our Thinking

Employee Spotlight on Camera: Brett Witt

  • By Hillery Brown
  • February 21, 2013

Over the past several months, you’ve gotten to know the latest additions to the Opower team through our New Employee Spotlights. Our company is growing faster than ever and we’ll continue featuring our newly minted team members as we grow from 300 employees today to over 450 by the end of the year.

As much as we love our new folks, we also want to show off the Oployees who have been there along the way — fueling our success and achievements to date, including saving 2 terawatt hours of energy, expanding internationally, and partnering with more than 80 fantastic utilities.

So we’ve put together a series of short videos that put the spotlight on a range of Opower employees, from Engineering to Client Services to Regulatory Affairs. To kick off the series, say hello to Brett Witt, Core Platform Lead on our Engineering team, based out of our San Francisco office.

Lights, camera, action!

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Our Thinking

President Obama challenges America to cut energy waste by 50%

  • By Katie DeWitt
  • February 13, 2013

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama put forth an ambitious energy efficiency goal for America: to cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. And he envisioned working with states to get this done, offering federal support to states that pursue the best ideas to lower energy bills and create jobs in the process.

The President’s strong endorsement of energy efficiency comes on the heels of a similar set of recommendations issued by the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy, a diverse coalition of energy leaders, including Opower’s President Alex Laskey.  The Commission recommends doubling U.S. energy productivity over the next two decades, which would add 1.3 million jobs to the economy and save American families and businesses $327 billion in 2030.

Opower is already working across the states (nearly 30 of them and counting) to unleash energy savings, partnering with more than 80 utility companies to help customers reduce their energy bills. The behavioral energy-efficiency programs that we’ve deployed have, as of last month, cumulatively achieved 2 terawatt-hours (equal to 2 billion kilowatt-hours) of savings — enough to take all the homes in a city of 500,000 people off the electric grid for a full year

Beyond our impact in individual states, we’re also proud to be involved in ongoing federal efforts to make energy information useful and actionable for families and businesses.

The Opower team (currently more than 300 employees, growing to more than 450 by the end of the year) is excited about the President’s call to increase energy productivity nationwide, and we’re looking forward to playing an important role in making it happen. We believe that rising to the President’s challenge is not just possible — it’s also crucial for our country, our economy and the planet.

To hear the President’s vision for a more energy-efficient America, check out the below video segment from last night’s speech:

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