Can traffic lights help save energy?

Humans are visual creatures. When we see a red traffic light, we know to apply the brakes. Electric utilities are hoping a new generation of traffic light-like smart meter monitors will help people curb their energy consumption.

“When information is in real time and it’s in your face it helps change habits,” Catherine Cuellar, a spokeswoman for Oncor, an electric utility in Texas that is piloting two of the new monitors, told me Wednesday.