Glendale Water & Power customers that receive bi-monthly reports comparing their energy use with a composite of their neighbors' usage tend to save money, according to a report to the GWP Commission this week.

The 46,000 customers that receive the mailed reports from Opower, the company Glendale pays for the program, spent $3.1 million less on their energy bills than other Glendale Water & Power customers between Nov. 2009 and June 2013, according to the report.

“That's I think a pretty good result for this program,” Craig Kuennen, business transformation and marketing administrator at the utility, told commissioners Monday.

In addition to the paper reports, about 24,000 additional customers have access to a web portal with similar information. However, those who receive the mailings save more than those who only have access to Opower's web portal, said Atineh Haroutunian, public information officer for Glendale Water & Power.

The California Energy Commission requires the city to save about 11,800 megawatt hours of energy annually and Opower-related savings provide roughly half of that, Kuennen said.

Glendale Water & Power is the top cumulative saver of Opower's 90 utility customers, he added.

“We were one of the early adopters of Opower,” he said, noting that the utility has been sending the comparison reports since 2009.

Glendale spends $407,000 on the mailings and web portal. In January, the utility plans to launch a mobile application at an annual cost of $87,500. Officials are trying to drive people to the digital portals and away from the mailings, hoping to reduce printing and mailing costs, Kuennen said.

Customers will be able to pay their bills via the application and set usage alerts, which would be sent to a customer via email or text messages once their bill hits a self-defined point.

“That sounds like a nice service for our customers to have and realize the benefits of the new technology,” said Commissioner Manuel Carmargo Jr.

The application will be available in Play Store for Android and the AppStore for Apple.

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