New Thermostat Helps Utilities And Their Customers Reduce Brownouts And Electric Bills

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A new programmable Honeywell thermostat with Wi-Fi was designed to help power companies reduce brownouts and blackouts when electricity demand surges due to hot weather. The new programmable thermostat uses Honeywell’s Total Connect Comfort app.

Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostat
Honeywell Wi-Fi programmable thermostat.
Image Credit: HoneywellPRODUCTS on Youtube.

Air conditioners draw an enormous current when running (500 to 2,400 watts per room unit). Plus, they cycle on and off, causing large, sudden electricity demand spikes. The more we can cut down on A/C usage, the better.

South Sioux City was the first municipality to implement this new Honeywell thermostat as part of a city-wide effort to reduce electricity waste and the cost of electricity.

The new thermostat communicates with utility companies, which is part of the “smart grid” concept, and enables them to temporarily reduce the energy usage of appliances in order to avoid blackouts and brownouts. (Most power plants are slow to respond to large, sudden electricity demand changes.)

So you may end up a bit warm if your utility company expects a blackout. However, if they failed to turn your air conditioner down and there was a blackout, you would end up with no A/C at all.

This adjustment also gives utility companies time to start peaking power plants, many of which take about 15 minutes to start.

Customers that choose to participate in this smart grid program receive the thermostats free of charge.

“Honeywell has worked with utilities across the country for decades to help stabilize energy consumption. We have the energy technology, experience and are now layering on our reliable, easy-to-use Wi-Fi thermostats to make these programs a win-win for utilities and homeowners,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “South Sioux City leaders and residents should be commended for their responsible, consumer-oriented approach to energy management. We hope many more utilities and cities follow their lead.”

The EPA has estimated that the thermostats can save homeowners $200 on heating and cooling annually.

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Nicholas Brown

Has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

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