A few dozen Burbank, Calif. residents will soon be equipped with digital display devices that will help them track how much energy and water they're using and what it will cost, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Burbank Water and Power's yearlong pilot project follows the lead of the utility's counterpart in Glendale, Calif., which launched a similar program this year. The devices look and operate like digital picture frames.
Officials hope the program will make customers more aware of their consumption and encourage them to conserve, helping utilities meet statewide energy goals.
Jeannette Meyer of Burbank Water and Power said the digital devices would change how people think about energy. Local electricity rates rose 1.75 percent this year.
"None of this is to say we want customers to go without," Meyer said. "But if we can get all customers to think about their usage and control it a little bit more, that helps us to keep rates down for everybody."
Made by Burbank-based Ceiva Logic, the digital devices receive information from "smart meters" and display graphs showing how many gallons of water the customer has used each day of the week. Energy use can be tabulated on an hourly, daily or weekly basis.
Initially, 50 Burbank residents will receive the digital frames, possibly by August.
In Glendale, 10 of the digital devices are currently being used by city employees, said Martin Powers of Glendale Water & Power. By the end of the year, 45 frames will be given to Glendale residents.
Powers has had one of the devices set up in his living room since March. When he's away at work, the electricity used by Powers' home costs 4 cents an hour, he's learned, and 6 to 7 cents an hour when he returns home and turns on the lights. With his bedroom lights and the television on too, he knows it rises to 14 cents.
Read more about water-saving devices.