One thing that startled me during the reporting of the story was a comment from EnerPath that 80% of their customers are signed up as cold calls--i.e., by a guy knocking on your door and asking if you'd like a free energy audit. As a Girl Scout, I knocked on a lot of doors hawking cookies, but nonetheless found most of my buyers among friends and family. So EnerPath's number struck me as a pretty big share. But it may be that one of the reasons homeowners don't make simple improvements is that they don't know what the simple improvements are: Which appliances are the real vampires? Which changes have the biggest impact on your bottom line? It's not like the utility is going to tell you. Smart grid technologies could make it a lot more obvious. But again, consumers are somewhat on their own there, as a lot of the utilities are focused on strategies that help them smooth the demand curve, rather than lowering it by selling people less electricity.
The Department of Energy offers some tips for a DIY energy assessment here.
Incidentally, it occurs to me that most of today's Girl Scouts are selling their cookies at stands rather than door-to-door. Nosing around the internet, it appears that this is due to safety concerns--and that the shift has been some controversial in some communities due to zoning laws, permitting issues, and so on. Earlier this year there was, for example, a crackdown in Missouri: "The city of Hazelwood says they do support the Girl Scouts but not when they are violating the home occupancy code." In a victory for advocates of interventionism a clergyman negotiated the peace by buying 36 boxes of cookies.