Advantages and commitment required

1. I’m curious about the initiative. What does participating in Social Power mean? How much of a commitment must I make to participate?
Participating in Social Power you will be involved in a research project that will monitor the electricity consumption of your family for a period of 15 months, from January 2016 to March 2017. During January to March 2016, participants will actively use the app to see their live electricity use, get tips for reducing consumption, and monitor savings compared to the previous year and compared to other communities. After the main period for the neighbourhood competition, the app will still be active to provide the electricity use information to the participant.  From time to time, there will be  meetings in person (group meetings, focus groups) and need to respond to online questionnaires. During the project period, the engagement level on the app is up to the participant, but the energy actions occur outside of the app and this is where the most involvement takes place.

2. How will the project engage with my electricity consumption data? Can the other participants in Social Power see this data?
The data of your electricity consumption will be monitored  every 15 minutes using the smart meter that was previously installed by your utility (AEM or Stadtwerk Winterthur) in your home.
The data will be visually presented on the Social Power app to give personalized feedback on the extent of your consumption. Your total electricity consumption, and that of your community, will be used as part of the Social Power game for the challenge between the citizens of Massagno / Capriasca and Winterthur. So only an aggregated total energy consumption and savings values will be see by other participants, and not the 15-minute electricity consumption tracking. The aim is to save as much energy as possible compared to the players on the other teams. It is therefore necessary that each player can access the information on the energy performance of the other players and their whole community.
If you like, you can use a nickname in the app, safeguarding your privacy. In any case, we guarantee that your data will be used respecting the principles of confidentiality and solely for research purposes. Finally, any data that would be published will be anonymous and would not allow for the recognition of individual participants. Candidates selected to participate in Social Power will sign a special agreement that will confirm this.

3. Will you monitor the electricity consumption of all members of my family?
The smart meter at your house monitors the total electricity used by the household. So the consumption by all members together will be shown in the Social Power app, but individual electricity consumption is not technically possible. Nor is it possible to identify electricity consumed by the various electrical devices or in different rooms of the house. Monitoring the household electricity consumption will occur between January 2015 and March 2017  at a rate of every 15 minutes.

For families who live in the apartment only the electricity consumption recorded by the smart meter directly connected to the apartment will be monitored. For example, the consumption of the elevator or for lighting of common areas will not be registered.. But the consumption for the shared laundry facility will be recorded if it is associated with the smart meter. In any case, Social Power does not monitor consumption for heating or water use.

4. Will I have to  change my habits or stop performing some of the activities that I do normally in the house, in order to save electricity?
No, there will be no restrictions on consumption or taxation of any kind. The purpose of the project is to encourage participants to save electricity, but leaves full freedom on how and when to do it.

5. Will I incur any costs by participating in Social Power?
No, it does not cost anything to participate in Social Power. On the contrary, you can potentially save money on your electricity bill. As well, you will increase your environmental awareness and experience an innovative service offered by the utility AEM and Stadtwerk Winterthur!
In addition, there are attractive prizes throughout and at the end of the project, as well as a collective event in each city.

6. Will I be able to go on vacation or will I have to remain at home for the duration of the project?
You can do whatever you want, even go on vacation. If you are away for most of the game period (January to March 2016) or for long periods later in  in 2016 and the first half of 2017, then you are probably not the right candidate for Social Power.

Conditions for participation

7. What are the requirements to participate in Social Power?
We seek above all enthusiasm and desire to participate!
The other requirements are very few: a household must be resident in the area served by AEM or Stadtwerk Winterthur and equipped with a smart meter.
You need to have a smartphone or tablet as well to use the application (app) Social Power. If you suspect the presence of a smart meter in your home, send your application and we will confirm your eligibility to participate in the project!

8. I would like to participate in Social Power but I already know that in mid-2016 I have to relocate for work. Can I still participate in half of the activities of Social Power?
If you plan to change accommodation between December 2015 and summer 2017, then you are not the best candidate for the program, as we need to monitor the electricity consumption of the participants for the duration of the project.

9. I’m not part of the AEM nor Stadtwerk Winterthur districts. Can I still participate in Social Power?
No, to participate in Social Power you must be resident in the area served by AEM or Stadtwerk Winterthur.

10. I am single. Can I participate in Social Power?
All kinds of households, families, shared apartments or individuals alone, may apply to participate in Social Power. Once the nomination period has closed, we will assess the characteristics of household candidates and make a selection between them, in order to identify a group of participants homogeneous and comparable, both internally and with respect to the “twin” group in Winterthur or Massagno / Capriasca.

11. I do not live in Massagno / Capriasca or Winterthur,  however, I have a barbershop there. Among helmets and hairdryer, I consumer a lot of electric energy and I have a big savings potential. Can I participate in Social Power?
No, only households can apply.

12. My colleagues and I would like to participate in Social Power, registering as our office. Can we participate?
No, only households can apply.

13. In my family only the teenage daughter owns a smartphone and I do not know how to use it. Can I participate in Social Power?
Yes, there has to be at least one smartphone or tablet in each household. However, the effectiveness of the program is relative to the engagement and actions initiated from the app. Therefore, it is important that there is good communication within every household and users have familiarity with the Social Power app functionality.

14. I live in a rented apartment. Can I participate in Social Power?

15. I live in a single-family house. Can I participate in Social Power?

16. My house is heated by a heat pump. Can I participate in Social Power?
We are still considering whether to include the activities of Social Power households living in dwellings with heat pumps. The decision also depends on the characteristics of the selected sample of participants in Winterthur and Massagno / Capriasca, which will be determined in November 2015. If you are interested in participating in Social Power and have a heat pump, we suggest you submit your application anyway!

Application Process

17. How does the selection process of the candidates work?
For all households interested in participating in Social Power, we ask you to fill out the application form available online. The deadline for application is October 31, 2015.
In October and November, the nominations received will undergo a selection to identify the families that best fit a comparably similar sample in the opposing city. This selection is based on number of family members, the type of house and the heating system.

18. When will I know if I was selected to participate in Social Power?
The selection among the applications received will be made in November. Presumably, then, you will be contacted by mid-November.

19. Will I receive in any case a response from the project, even if my application will not be accepted?
All applicants will receive a response by the end of November, i.e. those who will be invited to participate in Social Power and those whose applications do not fit the project.