A pilot program by Seattle City Light, a Seattle-based publicly owned utility, found encouraging results on the effectiveness of in-home energy monitoring displays for helping people conserve energy, the company recently reported. In a pilot program, 24 randomly selected participants reduced their electricity consumption by an average of 3%, or 340kWh, over the eight month test, which totaled nearly $22 in savings. Some saved much more, with the biggest reduction of 4,174kWh, or nearly 20%, which cut the customer’s bills by about $267 during the test period.

“In-home energy-monitoring displays can be an effective tool for those motivated to get the most out of them,” says Lars Henrikson, the energy planning analyst who ran the pilot. “We’re continuing to monitor our test group and to see how their electricity use continues over time.”

City Light plans to expand the pilot through its Neighborhood Power Project in early fall. Annually, the utility focuses on a neighborhood area in its service territory to promote energy saving programs and services and to provide energy education. In-home monitors will provide additional energy-saving opportunities for residents who are looking for more ways to conserve.

The energy monitors read a customer’s electricity meter and display the usage in real time, including the cost of that usage. Recognizing how much energy they use and what it’s costing them can motivate people to be more energy efficient.