Honeywell's UtilityPRO has become the fastest-selling thermostat for utility-sponsored demand-response programs. Since the technology was introduced in 2008, Honeywell has shipped more than 350,000 of the touchscreen programmable thermostats.

Thirty-three utilities in the U.S. and Canada have selected the thermostat for their demand-response efforts. By 2011, Honeywell expects UtilityPRO will give these utilities combined control of more than 500 MW of peak energy use.

UtilityPRO allows utilities to cycle air conditioners on and off for brief intervals when energy use and prices spike. Utilities also can use more sophisticated strategies like temporarily increasing set points or pre-cooling a premise prior to a demand-response event. The impact on comfort is negligible, but the collective decrease in demand helps utilities stabilize prices, reduce the need for additional power plants, and avoid disruptive brownouts and blackouts.

From a utility's perspective, the Honeywell thermostat provides demand-response technology with widespread customer appeal. This makes it easy to enroll customers into these programs, which translates to greater control of peak energy use. UtilityPRO also supports both one- and two-way communication, providing a migration path for smart grid implementations, and giving utilities additional insight into consumption at the household level.

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