Alex Laskey and Dan Yates created a company, Opower, with a single goal in mind: to use the power of behavioral economics to motivate people to save energy. They created a customer engagement platform designed to help electric utilities deliver more energy efficiency programs to their customers. Opower’s primary products are home energy reports based on user data and behavioral science principles. The company uses a mix of utilities data on user consumption patterns as well as crowdsourced data from energy users themselves. Its online scoreboard encourages friends to discuss and compare their household electricity use.
Opower then gamifies the experience by allowing energy users to complete challenges, participate in groups, and earn points and badges tied to reduced energy use. Using data from these interactions, Opower constantly tweaks its processes to keep energy users engaged. The company now partners with more than 100 utilities and claims that its model generates energy savings of 2 to 4 percent, translating into hundreds of millions of kilowatt-hours saved.