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Arlington Company Saves Enough Energy to Power City of 200,000

Opower achieved 1 terawatt-hour milestone this month.

's bright idea is starting to pay off.

The Courthouse-based company announced this month that, after five years, its software has helped people across the globe save 1 terawatt-hour of energy.

The business expects to reach that goal a second time by the end of 2012.

One terawatt-hour equals enough energy to power a city of 200,000 people for one year, according to the company. It represents about $120 million in savings to people around the world. And it's more than half the energy that was generated by the U.S. solar industry in 2011.

"We're really excited that we got this," Carly Baker, an Opower policy adviser, told Patch.

Opower's success proves that there isn't just one magic bullet when it comes to clean energy, Baker said.

"What's so great about energy efficiency is it's about the actions of individuals added together to produce these huge savings. It's a testament to individuals taking small actions that amount to a large amount of energy savings," she said.

Opower works with more than 70 electric and natural gas utilities in 25 states and four countries. The company is not currently working with Dominion Power.

Opower issues energy reports to residential customers that show people how they're using electricity and how they can reduce their consumption. The company studies behavior and lets people compare their energy use with their neighbors, adding a peer-pressure motivator to be more efficient, Baker said.

More recently, Opower has begun to send energy tips through text messages and emails and, in early April, launched .

"Leading utilities want their customers to be able to control their energy use. We've been fortunate to work with clients who have helped us implement effective programs that have saved enough energy to power every home in a city of 200,000 people for a year," Alex Laskey, president and co-founder of Opower, said in a statement.

Opower hit the 1 terawatt-hour milestone last week.

The company celebrated at a home in a Boston suburb with top Massachusetts officials and representatives of National Grid, an electricity provider and one of Opower's utility partners.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine and lay out his economic agenda.

Opower's home is 1515 N. Courthouse Road. It occupies some of the space above .

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