Video Share: Hilarious Street Interviews on Energy

May 11, 2011


Recently, I had a day long seminar on selling energy efficiency to customers. It was a great training for many reasons – but this video that was presented to us was icing on the cake.

Being an energy professional, I’m probably a little biased. A non-descript man with a microphone wanders the streets asking people various questions about energy and the answers were so hilarious I laughed so hard I nearly peed.

I hope you laughed as hard as I did.

A few minutes after viewing, (and regaining my composure) it hit me that people in the general population are wildly uninformed about energy. We’re not talking uninformed about the awesome new clean tech to hit the market, either. People clearly have very little information about what they’re paying for every month when they get their utility bills – an almost universal bill for everyone in America!

Energy is a product that people have almost no choice in purchasing and very few people even understand what the product is. Utility companies don’t *have* to educate their consumers about their product because the consumer has to buy it whether they understand it or not.

This realization is still festering in my mind today. What other kinds of products are there that are such a universal necessity that their consumers are widely in the dark about the product itself?


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3 Comments on “Video Share: Hilarious Street Interviews on Energy”

  1. Mark W. Says:

    Did you see the credits where the chicken was “unknown” origin?
    Here’s a funny one for you. My younger brother has always been a big fan of conserving energy – even while growing up and not having to pay the energy bill. He was the one turning off lights behind you as you left the room. So my mother had a reading lamp next to her easy chair with 75W or 100W incandescent bulbs. He would change out the bulbs to a lower wattage on a gradual basis until the bulb was like 40W or something. Of course, one day my mother realized what was happening and he was the prime suspect. πŸ™‚
    The components of my energy bill (natural gas and electric) have been entered into an Excel spreadsheet for many years. I’ve included breakouts for supply and delivery charges, meter readings, graphs, degree days, and even a customized, normalized formula I named ‘home heating factor’ ( therms*100000/(heating degree days for month)*sq. ft. of house). The formula sort of works for the winter months. πŸ™‚ My brothers think this is a little over the top even though they’re also engineers. My father (who was a facilities engineering manager at a local mfg. facility) started this spreadsheet and I expounded on it. I’ve called National Grid (formally Niagara Mohawk) to have them explain to me how they calculate certain detailed (electrical) charges because it isn’t clear on the bill. I think they do this because it would confuse many people and many people just don’t care to go down to that level of scrutiny. I will say though that National Grid has a pretty good layout for billing. My water company, on the other hand, has it too simplified in my opinion. In order to understand the rate charges for their bill it’s necessary to download a pdf file off their site. That bill of mine is also in a spreadsheet. πŸ™‚
    Health care is a product that many consumers (including myself) have a difficult time understanding (or accepting) why it is so expensive.The delivery of health care in an efficient and cost effective method is a very complex and emotionally charged issue. Two things come to mind immediately – tort reform and selling health insurance across state lines to increase competition in the marketplace.
    Here’s another service(s) – usually bundled which can leave you in the “dark” – telecommunication services – cable pkgs., broadband Internet access, VOIP, and cell phone pkgs.
    Oh, and BTW, your blog feed is now working in my Firefox browser!


    • Madam Energy Says:

      Haha, I did not catch the chicken credit – too funny!

      I love the spreadsheet method you’ve got going on. Too cool! Do you catch a lot of billing errors that way? I typically just eyeball mine but I’m also contracted by my utility company so I know their rates/codes/etc by heart which makes it easy to spot inconsistencies.

      And hooray for the feed being fixed! I didn’t get very far with trying to fix it but I bet it fixed itself when I changed the layout/design of the site. So glad you’re back to automated updates. πŸ™‚


      • Mark W. Says:

        No billing errors have been caught.
        It gives me a good baseline on my energy usage in a particular month from year to year. Variations can usually be attributed to weather conditions (i.e. – a cold winter or a humid summer). I try not to look too far back on the unit prices though. That’s something I can’t control and can be demoralizing. I think that’s where energy efficiency makes its entrance. πŸ™‚

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