Empower portal allows Naperville customers to monitor electricity use
Naperville electric utility customers have a new way to check their usage and potentially save energy: the city's Empower information portal.
The portal launched Monday featuring energy use charts in yearly, monthly, weekly or daily formats for customers to compare their electricity consumption over time or based on external factors such as daily temperature.
Customers can sign up by visiting www.empowernaperville.com and entering their account number from their utility bill to create a profile.
City employees developed the portal in house after a vendor secured during the smart meter installation process in the early 2010s and another vendor considered afterward were not able to deliver all the features or functions the city desired.
The city has planned since this summer to launch Empower before the end of the year, after conducting several rounds of cybersecurity testing to ensure the platform of electric meters, communication networks and data management systems will keep information safe.
Now, users who sign up for Empower accounts will be able to check electric usage data on a 24-hour delay instead of waiting for their monthly bill.
"With that knowledge, they can choose to make energy-saving changes, which is great for their home or business and for the environment," Lucy Podlesny, electric utility director, said in a news release.
Energy costs aren't available through Empower, because the portal was developed separately from the utility billing system. But a maximum of three years' past usage data will be searchable to anyone who has been an electric utility customer for that long.
As Empower gets going, here are some tips from the electric utility about how to use it to possibly decrease energy consumption.
• Review use data from hours when you're not home to determine how much energy your home is consuming. Make sure to unplug devices such as iPads or computers when they are not in use, as they use "phantom power" whenever plugged in.
• Check summer usage to determine if your peak electric use occurs when your air conditioner is on. If so, consider whether to get the system tuned up or to buy a more efficient unit.
• Use Empower to check energy usage when you know your lights are on and to consider whether switching to more efficient LED lights. They use 75% less energy and can last up to 25% longer than incandescent lighting. If you make a change, compare your Empower data from before and after to see how it helped.
• Review monthly demand patterns to determine if you can reschedule equipment startup times to help reduce peak usage. This could help reduce energy costs.
• Check Empower before making plans for building renovations to see if energy-efficient upgrades can help save energy and money.