Introduction The EnerUse PlugMeter is a new product designed to record the amount of energy used by an appliance or electrical device. Smaller than a credit card and less expensive than comparable energy monitors, the PlugMeter is an exciting device that will help consumers and businesses monitor their energy consumption and, in turn, reduce costs associated with unnecessary energy use. Another benefit of the PlugMeter is that it will help consumers become more aware of the energy they use; hopefully helping to reduce consumption and negative effects on the environment. Included with the PlugMeter is access to EnerUse’s website where consumers input the data obtained from their monitor and can see the cost associated with running each appliance on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis. This, a vital part of the product’s competitive advantage, is where the PlugMeter turns data into information that consumers can put to use. The website is also a great resource; giving recommendations on how to reduce energy consumption, when appliances should be replaced, and comparing the consumer’s appliances with newer more energy efficient ones. Target Market The PlugMeter could be used in numerous markets. Three markets that EnerUse is focusing on are Local Distribution Centers (LDC’s) such as Epcor and Enmax Energy, educational school programs, and retailers. After considering marketing options, the feasibility of reaching consumers, and maximizing initial distribution, our recommendation is to focus on targeting large LDC’s. We feel that these companies are the best option to launch the PlugMeter because they are the source of people’s energy and with proper implementation the use of this product can benefit both the company and the energy consumer. From the LDC’s perspective, by distributing the monitor to their customers they can enhance their social and environmental image. As well, customers would appreciate the initiative taken by their energy company to help them reduce their monthly bill payment. Additionally, the corporate image will benefit from a program that reduces energy consumption and ultimately diminishes the environmental impact of over- consumption. Another major factor affecting LDC’s is the risk of brownouts and blackouts on their main power grids. Brownouts and blackouts occur when power grids are maxed out and can result in partial or complete loss of power to the public. A prime example of a blackout that caused major problems was the power loss of the eastern United States and Canada in 2003. According to solarstorm.com, this blackout’s total economic cost was between $6.8 and $10.3 billion. (The Economic Cost of the Blackout, An issue paper on the Northeastern Blackout, August 14, 2003) A recent interview with an Epcor employee in Edmonton revealed that the occurrences of brownouts at high-energy use times are common and a growing concern. Today, most consumers are still relatively unaware of strains on their local energy supply. Through the use of the PlugMeter, and the website, consumers can assist LDC’s in lessening the strain on the girds. After the initial introduction of the PlugMeter, through LDC-household distribution, sponsorship of school based educational programs could be a highly beneficial option for the LDC’s. The PlugMeter can be used as a supplementary tool to existing curriculum providing opportunities for active learning to the energy consumers of the future. By sponsoring this initiative, not only can the LDC’s can gain social credibility, they can also gain a competitive edge by creating brand recognition at a young age. Another benefit to distributing the PlugMeter in schools is that students will bring home the knowledge they’ve gained at school and help further promote the PlugMeter as a useful tool in saving money. This will help to increase the awareness and potential demand for the product. We believe that initially targeting the LDC’s will be most effective in creating awareness of the product and reaching the largest group of people. Eventually, the awareness of this product will trickle down into other sectors including retail and manufacturing outlets. Some ideas for distribution of the PlugMeter are to use it as a promotional giveaway by large companies or as a point of purchase item. By this point in the PlugMeter’s lifecycle economies of scale can be achieved, making the distribution challenges associated with retail more feasible. Implementation In order to take advantage of a consumer’s openness to the PlugMeter, we feel the most effective time for the LDC’s to introduce the product to the target audience is at the moment when they are reading their energy bill. This moment is the “opening,” as discussed in Robin Hood Marketing, when the consumer is most likely to be receptive to the product. As they see their high energy bills, this is an opportune time to offer a free product that will help them reduce their monthly costs. A mock energy bill is included in Appendix A. The consumer would be required to sign up for their free PlugMeter with the coupon on the bill. This will ensure that the PlugMeter will end up with those consumers most likely to implement it and reduce wasted product distribution. Financial Analysis The current cost of production of the PlugMeter is $8.00 with a selling price of about $10.00. According to Jonathon Vinden, an executive of the project, once production of the product reaches 500,000 to 1,000,000 units, the cost of production will significantly decrease allowing for a reduction of the selling price. At this point, the PlugMeter will be more easily distributable within the retail and manufacturing industries. When comparing other energy monitors, the cost of the PlugMeter is significantly lower. Jonathon Vinden indicated that the closest competitor’s price is triple to that of the PlugMeter at $30.00. Other cost analyses online show that other energy monitors can be as high as $215.00 (www.energymonitor.com). This puts the PlugMeter at a significant advantage over the other monitors in that its price point is much more affordable.