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Switching to cleaner, cheaper energy can seem like a daunting task, but one company promises to make it easier than ever.
With a simple address search taking less than one minute, WattBuy offers you a free, simple, personalized plan that will save you money using clean energy. The company estimates that it has saved customers more than $4 million and generated more than 20 gigawatt-hours of clean energy.
Here’s how it works. By entering your address on the company’s website, WattBuy’s proprietary data platform — which takes into account your home size, energy usage, local trends, weather data, and maps — analyzes how your home or apartment uses electricity on a 15-minute basis and offers you cost-saving recommendations including:
Once you get your plan, WattBuy plays matchmaker, connecting you with fully vetted products, services, and energy providers or walking you through how to make those changes yourself.
I gave WattBuy a try, and while I don’t have the choice to switch energy providers in Idaho, where I live, WattBuy showed me that I can choose to switch to clean energy directly through Idaho Power, which was an option I didn’t even know I had.
In Idaho, it’s a few dollars more per month to choose renewable electricity, but WattBuy says there are lots of people like me who are willing to pay the same or more for renewable energy.
And in some states, the switch to clean energy is less expensive. One of my colleagues based in Pennsylvania discovered he could cut his electricity bill in half by switching to a new plan.
For example, if you live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, switching from the default plan (14.61 cents per kWh) to WattBuy’s green recommendation (9.49 cents per kWH) would save you more than $58 a month or nearly $700 a year (assuming an average usage of 1150 kWH a month).
That’s because if you live in one of the 13 states with a deregulated electricity market (according to WattBuy, those are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas), you can actually choose your energy plan. Hot tip: The default plan that you’re assigned is often the most expensive, so it’s crucial for you to understand your choices if you want to save money or get renewable energy.
The challenge in navigating these options was what led WattBuy co-founder and CEO Naman Trivedi to start the company in 2017 — with the goal of building a trusted place for consumers to begin their money-saving journey.
“It is impossibly confusing to figure out what is the right set of things that you should do for your home energy ecosystem to be a steward of the planet and make sure it doesn’t break the bank,” Trivedi said in an interview on the “My Climate Journey” podcast.
Trivedi told the podcast he “effectively got scammed” by an energy provider who sold him on a teaser energy rate that doubled within a few months. And he realized that “there was a lot of door-to-door knocking, in lower-income neighborhoods in particular, saying ‘I could save you money on your energy bill,’ and that locked customers into plans that could hike later.”
He also realized a crucial idea: As he put it, “no one cares about electricity.” The average homeowner spends just eight minutes a year interacting with their utility company, compared to the 1,300 hours a year we spend on social media. By asking for just one minute of a customer’s time, WattBuy could make it easier to navigate the choices — especially during a move or seasonal price surges.
Nearly 34% of Americans have reduced or skipped basic expenses in order to pay their energy bills. And, with clean energy continuing to get cheaper, Trivedi knew that motivating customers with cheaper utility bills could be the solution to scaling renewable energy.
“If we can help every homeowner and renter understand how their home uses electricity,” he told “My Climate Journey,” “then we can be sure we are recommending the right plan for them based on their home and its usage characteristics.”
WattBuy is officially accredited by the United States Department of Energy and recently partnered with Redfin to provide energy cost estimates for more than 85 million homes across the country so that home buyers know what to expect in terms of monthly electricity costs.
The company’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to think about their energy use and connect as many people as possible with clean energy.
“We want to get every household access to more affordable, cleaner electricity,” Trivedi told “My Climate Journey.”
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