Energy Doctors, a Spokane-based franchisor of energy auditing businesses, has begun offering an in-home energy monitor that it claims can help a household reduce its electricity bill by up to 20 percent.
The company's franchisees sell the energy monitor for $169, which includes installation and programming, says Chris Permann, the company's CEO. The unit consists of a device that attaches to most electricity meters and a small wireless receiver, about the size of a television remote control, that is mounted inside the home and displays information about the home's electricity usage, including estimated charges, and the outdoor temperature.
Permann says that by being able to see changes in energy consumption when a light, television, or other electrical device or appliance is turned on, consumers can make intelligent decisions to reduce their overall electrical use and their bills.
Avista Corp. spokesman Hugh Imhof says the Spokane-based company thinks power monitors in general are a good way for consumers to monitor their energy use. He says Avista plans to include some type of power monitor in its planned smart-grid demonstration project in Pullman, and hopes to determine if such devices help customers reduce their energy consumption.
Permann says he has an exclusive contract to sell the device, which is made by Canadian company Blue Line Innovations Inc., and it's being sold as an Energy Doctors brand product. He says that though similar products have been available at home-improvement stores for a few years, the installation, programming, and training service that Energy Doctors provides to buyers makes the device more useful for consumers.
Overall, Energy Doctors' franchisees perform about 3,000 energy audits a year, says Permann, including about 900 annually in the Spokane market. The Spokane operation has six employees and serves Eastern Washington, North Idaho, Eastern Oregon, and Western Montana. Nationwide, the company has franchisees in 28 states.
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