Consumer technology company Honeywell have teamed up with the world’s leading utility customer engagement solutions company Opower to introduce a new technology that they hope will encourage utilities to attract more homeowners to voluntary programs that will help curb their demand for electricity.
The Energy Management Platform is a combination of Honeywell’s Wi-Fi thermostat and Akuacom utility management software with Opower’s interactive, cloud-based application.
The combination will allow users to view and adjust their energy usage from anywhere via a smartphone application or the web, as well as providing tips to increase efficiency and savings.
The current average participation rate for residential customers in demand response programs is around 13 percent, according to a 2012 E Source survey, but Honeywell and Opower are hoping to increase that to 20 percent with their new application. They believe that such an increase in involvement would provide an additional 220 megawatts of peak shed capacity.
In addition, the Energy Management Platform uses measurement techniques to deliver ongoing and verifiable energy savings each day.
“As separate efforts, demand response and efficiency programs can offer significant benefits to utilities and customers, but it’s typically been hard to measure and verify their effectiveness,” said Alex Kinnier, senior vice president of Product Management at Opower. “By combining these efforts and providing a way to help utilities generate real, measurable savings, we’ve created a new, more cost-effective and capable model.”
“Program participation can’t be a one-way proposition,” said Jeremy Eaton, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Smart Grid Solutions. “To maximize enrollment, utilities must provide real, tangible benefits to consumers. We’re bridging the gap by providing mobility, relatable energy information, precise control and other features customers want so utilities can reach deeper levels of connectivity and participation.”
Opower recently announced that they had saved US residents 2 terawatt hours of electricity by way of their behaviour-based efficiency platform, which amounted to the equivalent of taking a 500,000-people-sized city off the grid for a whole year, $223 million in savings on energy bills, and 3 billion pound of CO2 from the atmosphere.
PG&E is currently trialling the application in California, involving participants and installing more than 500 free thermostats.
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