Students learn how weather drives the cost of utility bills

Middle and high school students in North Carolina participated in a project called E-Tracker through ElectriCities to learn about the effect of weather patterns on utility bills.

The students too meter readings to see the impact of weather and appliances. The project, funded by the American Public Power Association’s Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments program, was aimed not only at the students.

“The assumption was that students would educate their parents about how the bill goes up and down with the weather,” said Phil Bisesi, supervisor of residential energy services at ElectriCities.

For one month, students gathered high and low temperatures in their area, noted daily meter readings at home and measured energy used by household appliances with technology loaned by the utility. The data was transferred to a custom spreadsheet. Students concluded the project by learning how to plot the data in linear regression.

Four schools in North Carolina participated in the project which took place in September 2013. Four additional schools participated during the second found in February 2014.

“It was a great opportunity to educate our customers that the students will be one day,” said Kim Weaver, energy services manager for Rocky Mount Utilities, which worked with a local middle school to engage students in the project. “We didn’t have to teach,” she said. “These kids were teaching the parents for us.”

Bisesi said the E-Tracker was popular among students and teachers alike, and that the utility plans to continue the project next year.

Learn more about this program in the July-August issue of Public Power magazine. Subscribe.

To learn more about DEED, visit publicpower.org/DEED.