Fort Collins, Colorado is the first city in the world to offer a new mobile web app from Council Associate Partner Siemens to its utility customers. One utility official calls it the "heart and soul" of their smart grid efforts.
The Energy Engage Mobile app enables users to track electricity, water or gas use in near real-time and view their estimated bill. The mobile-enabled web site displays account alerts and tips as well as price information, allowing users to see current cost of electricity per unit and shift usage to off-peak times to avoid higher energy rates.
For Fort Collins, the app has been the backbone of its innovative advanced metering project, allowing customers to see 60 minute interval reads for water use and 15 minute interval reads for electric usage. That's a dramatic improvement over the once a month consumption updates customers were used to seeing.
“At Fort Collins, we really see a mobile solution as the heart and soul of our smart grid efforts,” said Steve Catanach, Light and Power manager at the Fort Collins Utilities. “The app and website is something the consumer can see, interact with, and benefit from, allowing them to better manage their energy use and providing us the opportunity to deliver a higher level of customer service.”
Siemens notes that a recent J.D. Power study found that utilities were shown lacking in content and information delivery via their websites.
“Utilities can provide Energy Engage Mobile to their customers whether they be commercial and industrial clients or residential, to help meet energy efficiency and customer satisfaction goals, and complement engagement initiatives around smart grid programs," said Lisa Caswell, president of eMeter, a Siemens business.
Visit the Smart Cities Apps Gallery to see other examples of mobile apps that cities are using to engage with their citizens. (Note: A free, one-time registration is required to access the Apps Gallery and other premium content on the site.)