Middle Schools Win with San Diego Energy Challenge

Jan 15, 2013

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Simple Energy announced today the three winning schools in the San Diego Energy Challenge school competition. The San Diego Energy Challenge contest gave SDG&E customers in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) boundaries the chance to compete on behalf of their chosen SDUSD middle school to win cash grants. Participating customers earned points for their school of choice by saving energy on Reduce Your Use days and getting members of their community to sign up and support their team. 

The grand prize winner was Albert Einstein Middle School, which was successful in enrolling the equivalent of 69 percent of their student population to compete on their team by saving energy, and received a $15,000 grant. Pacific Beach Middle School won first prize and received $5,000, and second prize went to Creative Performing Media Arts, receiving $3,000.

"We are grateful to SDG&E and Simple Energy for supporting our middle schools with such a unique and innovative program," said San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Bill Kowba. "The San Diego Energy Challenge school competition provided not only the opportunity for schools to earn much-needed funding, it also provided students with the opportunity to promote the importance of saving energy. Congratulations to the winning schools."

"We're proud that by saving energy in a fun and interactive competition, participating customers were able to reduce their energy use on Reduce Your Use days," said Caroline Winn, SDG&E's vice president of customer services and chief customer privacy officer. "Because of the smart meters now in place, we're continuing to find creative new ways for our customers to engage with their energy usage data and save money."

The San Diego Energy Challenge uses Simple Energy's "Social, Fun, and Simple"™ online game platform to encourage customers to save energy through friendly competition with their friends and neighbors. This innovative program earned backing from the Department of Energy (DOE), and SDG&E was awarded DOE funding to run the program.

"The San Diego Energy Challenge shows that by framing energy savings as a competition we can motivate people to save a lot of energy," said Yoav Lurie, CEO of Simple Energy. "Layering on rewards and the opportunity to help a local school makes it even more effective. We're inspired by how much energy San Diegans are saving."

In addition to SDG&E giving away approximately $26,500 in prizes to San Diego area middle schools, participating customers that live within the SDUSD boundary were able to win individual prizes such as a tablet computer or gift cards through a drawing for being one of the day's top savers.

Now moving into its next phase, the San Diego Energy Challenge will continue to engage customers with their energy data and incentivize energy savings with individual prizes through February 2013.

SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility's area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

Simple Energy uses social game mechanics to change how people save energy and how utilities engage their customers. Simple Energy's customer engagement platform and applications combine leading behavioral science research and social game mechanics that encourage energy efficiency. Participants in Simple Energy programs compare their real energy usage with their friends and neighbors, making energy efficiency social, fun, and simple.

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SOURCE San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)

For further information: Erin Coller, San Diego Gas & Electric, +1-877-866-2066, www.sdge.com, Twitter: @sdge, or Jill Thompson, Simple Energy, +1-720-438-8289, jthompson@Metzger.com, Twitter: @SimpleEnergy