North Carolina utility using peer pressure to conserver energy

Progress Energy is going to apply old-fashioned peer pressure to encourage customers to conserve electricity as part of a new energy efficiency program approved state regulators.

According to the Raleigh-based power company, the novel program will apply "behavioral science principles" to motivate customers to stop wasting electricity.

But skeptics say such efforts in other states, which have been tried for several years, so far have been long on promises but short on verifiable results.

As early as June, Progress will mail notices to customers whose household power bills are above average when compared to their neighbors.

The theory is that when energy hogs see that their neighbors have lower power bills, they'll get motivated to turn out the lights, lower the thermostat and maybe even put in some weatherstripping.

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