Posts by Barry Fischer

Our Thinking

This is why President Obama’s top campaign strategist believes data analytics will change everything for utilities


Over the past few weeks, we’ve brought a stable of new voices to the Opower blog to talk about the future of the energy industry. Glenn Steiger shared how he’s using technology to deliver better experiences for his customers. Vicki Campbell told us why she’s going all-in on energy efficiency. Frank Luntz revealed surprising truths about what energy consumers actually care about. And Dr. Robert Cialdini explained how utilities can use behavioral science to transform their customer relationships.

All of them will speak at PowerUp, our annual utility innovation summit. So will Jim Messina — the visionary political strategist who used data analytics to fuel President Obama’s landslide electoral victory in 2012.

We sat down with Jim last week to explore what data analytics can do for the energy industry. Here’s what he told us.

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Our Thinking

Oil prices are plunging. 3 charts explain why it won’t impact power companies or the value of energy efficiency.


The price of crude oil has plummeted in recent weeks, hitting its lowest point since 2009. Driven by a perfect storm of increased oil supply and weakened oil demand, the price drop has rattled financial markets and provoked uncertainty about where oil prices are headed in 2015.

When oil prices tumble, there are winners and losers. Among the winners are car drivers and airlines, who find it cheaper to fill their fuel tanks. Among the losers are oil-producing companies, who get fewer dollars for every barrel of crude they sell.

What about power companies? It’s tempting to think that utilities, insofar as they are key players in the energy world, might also be adversely affected by convulsions in the oil market. But that would be incorrect.

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How much does it cost to charge an iPhone 6? A remarkably slender $0.47 per year

Many aspects of Apple’s newly released iPhone 6 line are indeed, as the company has stated, “bigger than bigger.” From screen size to sales numbers, the new devices pack a hefty punch.

But at least one thing about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is spectacularly small: their energy consumption.

Following up on our iPhone 5 analysis a couple years ago, we returned to the Opower lab to measure how much electricity it takes to charge the latest Apple devices from 0% to 100% full. Then we modeled those results across a year (see Methodology) to determine their annual energy impact and cost.

Charging the iPhone 6 costs $0.47 per year

We found that, like their predecessor, the iPhone 6 as well as the iPhone 6 Plus require a trivial amount of electricity:

Charging Costs

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