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Oracle Helps Utility Customers Reduce 47,000 Tons of CO2 with Ministry of Environment Japan Program to Realize Decarbonized Society

Oracle Utilities Opower, which has helped programs leveraging the Nudge Theory worldwide, is reconfigured for the lifestyle and culture in Japan. It has provided 300,000 households from five participating utilities with personalized reports since 2017, contributing to energy efficiency improvement of 2% on average.

Tokyo, Japan and Austin, TexasJune 29, 2021
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As part of a carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction initiative by the Ministry of Environment Japan (MOE), Oracle Corporation Japan and Jyukankyo Research Institute Inc. provided approximately 300,000 households with personalized information and advice to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions over four years. The program resulted in average 2% reduction in energy consumption and a cumulative reduction of 47,000 tons of CO2. It has been confirmed that the energy saving effect continues even a year after the delivery of the reports was suspended, and it is estimated that the cumulative CO2 reduction will reach 111,000 tons in the future, which is the equivalent of 41,000 households’ CO2 emission for a year1 or replacing roughly 135,000 refrigerators with more efficient models2. Along with these achievements, these household decarbonization efforts are contributing towards Japan’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas by 46% by 2030.

Known as the “MOE Nudge Project,” the initiative used the Oracle Opower Energy Efficiency Cloud Service and configured to fit Japanese culture and lifestyle to engage selected customers from Hokkaido Gas, Tohoku Electric Power3, Hokuriku Electric Power, Kansai Electric Power, and Okinawa Electric Power from early fiscal year 2017 through the beginning of 2021. Working with the five participating utilities throughout Japan, this large verification was conducted for four years involving 300,000 households, which made it an unprecedented project in the region.

To realize a decarbonized society, Japan states goals to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a 46% cut by fiscal year 2030 from the fiscal year 2013 level.

The goal of the MOE Nudge Project was to “promote autonomous efforts in residential sector, etc. by using behavioral insights including nudges that elicit low-carbon behavior changes.” To create a society where every citizen pursues an eco-friendly and comfortable energy-saving lifestyle, this Nudge verification program, one of the largest in Japan, encouraged autonomous emission reduction behavior across 300,000 households.

“Leveraging Oracle Utilities Opower, this program for encouraging behavioral change based on the Nudge Theory has a significant meaning as it has been proven effective in promoting behavior to reduce carbon emissions in Japan,” said Hidetoshi Nakagami, Chief Executive Officer, Jyukankyo Research Institute Inc. “It is very difficult to achieve carbon neutrality for the entire energy supply. To attain a carbon-free society, it is desirable to first minimize the total demand by saving energy and then transform the types of energy supply. The outstanding CO2-reduction results achieved through this program suggest a new option for realizing decarbonized residential sector.”

“The MOE is promoting autonomous and actionable initiatives to achieve the emission reduction targets,” said Tadahiro Ikemoto, Director for Behavioral Insights Strategy, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan. “It is with great satisfaction to see the remarkable results from one of the largest verification programs in Japan. Oracle Japan and Jyukankyo Research Institute worked in close collaboration with the participating utilities to assess the Nudge Theory, which applies behavioral science. In addition to a large amount of CO2 emission reduction during the project period, although it is said that Nudge does not last, it has been demonstrated that the effect of appropriate Nudge lasts for at least one year even after discontinuing the treatment.”

In this project, Oracle Japan and Jyukankyo Research Institute jointly worked with the participating utilities to provide 300,000 Japanese households with Oracle Opower Home Energy Reports (HERs) based on personalized behavioral science insights and data analytics. Globally, Oracle Corporation has collaborated with 175 utilities worldwide in carbon-reducing programs to encourage behavioral change. Oracle Japan oversaw the program in region and configured and managed the platform. Jyukankyo Research Institute, a leading program research organization in Japan focused on saving energy and reducing carbon emissions through behavioral change with its extensive experience in study and research projects, designed the program and experiments and evaluated the effectiveness.

Throughout the program, customers received various kinds of Oracle Opower HERs that helped them reduce energy consumption. Depending on the region, these included paper-based reports by postal mail, LINE and mobile app content, and communications featuring a mascot character uniquely found in Japanese culture. Each report provided customers with billing and usage information, monthly comparison, personalized energy consumption insights, household energy analysis, and energy- and bill-saving tips.

Key findings from the verification are as follows:

  1. Throughout the program, Oracle Opower HERs helped participating households reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 2.8% compared to households that did not receive Oracle Opower HERs, or a cumulative total of 47,000 tons over four years and 111,000 tons when including sustained effects.
  2. Oracle Opower HERs were successful in engaging customers, recognized by 80% and viewed by 70% of households that received the reports, while also drawing the attention of 40% and triggering actions of 30% of them.
  3. About 30% of customer households that received Oracle Opower HERs said that they now have a better impression of their utility, indicating that the program has helped utilities strengthen customer engagement.

The program was so successful in terms of customer satisfaction and carbon reduction that Hokkaido Gas and Okinawa Electric Power are continuing with these Oracle Utilities Opower communications following the completion of the commissioned program, which concluded in March 2021.

“Japan is a leader in realizing the aggressive carbon-reduction goals we need to meet as a global society,” said Matt O’Keefe, global vice president, Oracle Utilities Opower. “The Ministry of Environment understood that behavioral energy efficiency is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions and embarked on this journey with us to launch one of the largest customer engagement programs in the region. It was amazing to see how customers rose to the challenge throughout this program with commendable energy savings. We look forward to continuing this important work with several utilities in Japan to provide customers more frequent and personalized data that will help them make better energy choices.”

Oracle Utilities Opower is a residential customer engagement solution. The offering uses energy usage data, advanced analytics, AI, and behavioral science to engage utility customers with actionable, personalized insights that help them reduce energy use and costs. These programs not only promote energy efficiency, but also increase customer satisfaction, new revenue generation, operational efficiency, and more. Learn more here.

  1. Estimate based on Japan’s average CO2 emission per household of 2.72 [t-CO2/household, year] from the MOE’s report on statistical survey of CO2 emissions from household sector, 2019 (confirmed)
  2. Estimate based on CO2 reduction of 0.137 [t-CO2/unit, year] and 0.822 [t-CO2/unit] over the statutory useful life of six years when replaced with a highest-end refrigerator model, from the MOE’s report on a commissioned project to pinpoint CO2 emission structure in household sector in 2016
  3. Participated in the program in the first year only

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