Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to move forward with the Pledge during COVID-19?

A:

The COVID-19 epidemic is having a significant effect on our lives in DC and across the nation. As we stay at home for our collective safety, we are using more electricity to power our work, school and daily activities. This increased energy usage may not only be impacting your bills, but also contributing to climate change. We can all take simple steps, today and every day, to do good for both our wallets and the environment. Working together, we can continue to make a difference for our community and planet.

What does climate change have to do with electricity?

A:

The use of fossil fuels—like coal, oil, and natural gas—is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions that humans produce.  In the District, the largest sources of emissions from fossil fuels includes natural gas for heating, gasoline used to power motor vehicles, and electricity.   Greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, build up in the atmosphere and trap the heat of the sun, causing global warming.  Using less energy is one way to reduce carbon emissions.

How does DC plan to address climate change?

A:

The Climate Ready DC plan explains impacts that the District will experience as a result of climate change, including warmer average temperatures; 2-3 times as many dangerously hot days; more frequent and intense heavy rain events; and higher tides due to rising sea levels. Clean Energy DC is the District’s action plan that identifies steps to be taken between now and 2032 in our buildings, our energy infrastructure, and our transportation system to meet the District’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets. The District Department of Energy and Environment has produced an interactive online tool for residents to better understand the District’s current climate and energy footprint, the proposed actions in Clean Energy DC and the potential impacts for our energy future.

Why does this pledge matter?

A:

The goal is to use energy more efficiently year-round, but the pledge will use July as a test month. 2019 was the 2nd hottest year on record. In July 2019, DC consumed more than 1.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, translating to more than 500,000 tons[1] of carbon dioxide (CO2), equivalent to the emissions of more than 170,000 cars each driven for one year. The pledge will help DC residents know their power to cut carbon, save energy, and save money. Collectively, we can #SaveMoreThanMoney.

 

[1] Assuming a PJM average emission rate.

Who is eligible to participate in the pledge?

A:

To participate in the pledge, you must be an individual resident at least eighteen (18) years old in DC and take the pledge on www.ReduceEnergyUseDC.com by July 7, 2020.  Only one pledge per individual will be allowed.  

How will prizes be awarded?

A:

Prize winners for the pledge will be selected based on random drawings. Starting the first week of May up until July, we will have a random drawing every two weeks (6 winners). Following the focused period in July, additional random drawings will occur in the following categories – Winner per Ward (1 winner for each of 8 Wards), Seniors – 60 and older (4 winners), and Pepco customers receiving the Residential Aid Discount (4 winners).

Can engagement through social media be awarded?

A:

We recognize the power of your voice in social media. We encourage you to be creative in engaging with the campaign. Therefore, we want to recognize the social media posts that receive public engagement. Prizes will be awarded for top Social Activators that have taken the pledge in the following categories: most popular social media post (1 winner); top student post (1 winner); and top pledge contributor who signs up the most people (1 winner). The most popular social media post will be measured by likes on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts @ReduceEnergyDC.

How does the leaderboard work?

A:

After taking the pledge, you will have the option to share your pledge online using an URL with an unique ID generated by ReduceEnergyUseDC.com. This URL allows the website to track sign-ups made from your sharing on social media. ReduceEnergyUseDC.com will have a leader board for the post that tracks the most sign-ups by referral. The person with the most pledge referrals will receive the top pledge contributor prize.

What are the prizes?

A:

We would like to create permanent behavior change related to energy savings. It is believed that it takes an average of 66 days to create a habit, or nearly 3 billing cycles.  Pepco customers who are winners will receive a credit on their bill for $300, which is approximately three summer month bills (July 2019 average residential consumption was 839 kWhs, which equals a $99.48 bill).  Non-Pepco customers who are winners may either (a) give the “Gift of Energy” and assign the $300 credit to a friend or relative who is a Pepco customer, or (b) choose a nonprofit to receive a $300 donation in the winner’s name.

How do I take the Pledge?

A:

Sign up anytime between April and July 7th.

  • Go to www.ReduceEnergyUseDC.com
  • Text “SaveMore” to 52886
  • Call 202.872.2020 or tollfree at 855.673.3823

When will the winners be announced?

A:

Winners of the random drawings will be notified by email and/or by phone immediately following the random drawing and will be instructed how to claim or make a gift of the prize, as applicable. The winners of the Social Activators categories will be notified after August 5th, 2020. The winners in each drawing will also be promoted in social media advertising and/or posts on Energy Efficiency Day 2020, which was established as the first Wednesday of October by a Mayoral Proclamation and a Ceremonial Resolution by the Council of the District of Columbia.

I live in a building where I don’t have to pay utilities, can I still participate?

A:

Yes! Everyone can take the pledge and save energy, no matter where you live or work. 

How can I participate? What do I need to save energy?

A:

Make a plan—talk with members of your household about steps you can each take on a daily basis to reduce energy use now and in the future. Share ideas with friends and neighbors. You can start with a few simple actions—Set the thermostat up, turn off lights, and unplug electronic devices. A full list of tips and resources can be found at www.ReduceEnergyUseDC.com.

What is the average consumption for residential customers?

A:

The average monthly residential consumption in the District of Columbia is 692 kWh, resulting in an average monthly bill of $83.45. However, more energy is consumed during the summer months. July 2019 average residential energy use was 839 kWh, which is approximately a $99.48 bill.

How is energy use measured on my monthly electric bill?

A:

Your monthly electricity usage is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). That is the total amount of kilowatt-hours that the electrical equipment in your home/business uses over the month. For example, if you use a 100-watt lightbulb for 10 hours a month, that would be one thousand watt hours or one kilowatt-hour.

How can I see my energy use?

A:

You can access your daily, hourly and monthly energy use by signing into My Account at Pepco.com. My Account has a variety of tools including comparisons to other similarly sized homes and customized energy savings tips. You can also sign up for usage alerts through text or email. As part of the pledge, you will receive Weekly Usage Reports (WURs) via email comparing your energy usage to your prior week’s consumption. You will begin receiving WURs on Wednesday, July 8th. These emails are typically sent each Wednesday at 9 a.m. from the email pepd@email.opower.com. Your enrollment in the pledge will constitute your consent to receive the WURs and other pledge-related emails.

What if I’m a Pepco customer and did not receive a Weekly Usage Report?

A:

Three founding organizations, the District Department of Energy and Environment, Pepco, and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility are working with numerous partner organizations and advisory organizations to execute Reduce Energy Use DC. Pepco will utilize the provided name, address, phone number, and email address to confirm you are a Pepco customer. If unable to verify you as the account holder, then Pepco will not send energy usage information to the participant. In order to develop the Weekly Usage Reports starting July 8th, you have to take the pledge by June 12th.

How can I find information on how to save energy and seek billing assistance?

A:

There are dozens of things that you can do to reduce your energy use. See our Energy Savings Page for tips. Additional resources are also provided if you are seeking assistance on your energy bill.

Will I know how I compare to other participants?

A:

My Account lets you compare your home’s energy usage to other similarly sized homes in your area.

Will anyone see or use my energy usage or bill information? Will my information be kept private?

A:

Your energy use data will continue to remain private as specified in the privacy policy available on the Pepco website. Your contact information will only be used for the purpose of communicating with you regarding this pledge and will not be shared with founding, partner, and advisory organizations.

Who is analyzing my energy consumption, is Pepco involved in the pledge?

A:

Pepco is a founding partner in the pledge and will be conducting the energy use analysis for pledge participants.

What other organizations are sponsoring this pledge?

A:

Environmental, business, and community groups have come together to host the energy savings pledge.

 

Founding organizations include: Pepco, District Department of Energy and Environment and DC Sustainable Energy Utility

Advisory organizations include: Natural Resources Defense Council

Partner organizations include: AARP, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), American Lung Association in DC, DC Building Industry Association, DC Chamber of Commerce, ENERGY STAR, Federal City Council, The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Greater Washington Urban League, Groundswell, M.J. Bradley & Associates, National Housing Trust, Natural Resources Defense Council, Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, The NEED Project, Think Local First!, and United Way of the National Capital Area

Why was a CFL lightbulb chosen for the logo, isn’t the CFL outdated technology?

A:

Numerous names and taglines were considered by the founding, partner and advisory organizations. Focus groups were conducted to determine what resonated with customers. Universally, participants associated the CFL bulb with energy efficiency. However, most of the same group of participants did not associate the LED bulb with energy efficiency. Much like the floppy disk icon is recognized as the save button on computers, CFL bulbs are widely recognizable and understood. Please note we do recommend the use of LED lightbulbs.