In 2016 the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin released a Final Decision (Docket 5-FE-102, 5-FE-100) following an investigation into rural customers’ access to energy efficiency programs. This investigation found significant barriers to the ability of customers in rural areas to benefit from energy efficiency programs run by Focus on Energy. In 2018 Focus received support from the PSC to use funds for a rural residential behavioral pilot program during the 2019-2022 quadrennium.
These decisions led to the formation of the Save to Give pilot program. This pilot aims to reduce energy usage through interventions grounded in the behavioral sciences using novel approaches to increase end-use customer engagement, education, and satisfaction with their energy utility. Money saved through energy efficient behaviors provides participants with the opportunity to invest in their community through charitable donations to local organizations. Customer satisfaction with this program is of paramount importance as is utility stakeholder satisfaction. A secondary goal of this pilot is to test the efficacy of behavioral strategies and program design on rural Wisconsin customers for possible integration into Focus on Energy’s broader portfolio. A third objective is finding measurable savings, but this goal has not been the primary focus of the PSC’s guidance or Focus on Energy’s execution of the program.