Progress customers can keep up with Joneses to cut costs

Posted April 28, 2011 1:46 p.m. EDT

— Progress Energy said Thursday that it plans to encourage energy conservation this summer by showing customers how little their neighbors are spending on electricity.

The program, which has been approved by the state Utilities Commission, involves Progress Energy sending notices to customers to compare their monthly electric bills with those of unidentified neighbors who live in similarly sized homes.

Mike Hughes, a spokesman for the Raleigh-based utility, said knowing the other residents have lower bills should motivate people to look for various ways to cut their electricity usage.

Notices could start going out in June, and they will be sent at random to cover a range of customer profiles.

Progress Energy estimates that its North Carolina customers will cut back their electricity use by at least 2 percent once they start comparing themselves with their neighbors.