This fall, 800 Arizona Public Service customers will embark on a Home Energy Information Pilot to find out if seeing is conserving.
Over a two-year period, volunteers will test a range of smart technologies designed to provide them with more control over their energy use. Customers will be able to see their energy usage displayed in real time on countertop devices, personal computers and smart phones, enabling them to make any changes to their habits on-the-fly.
Some participants will also test demand response programs. With their permission, customers allow software at the utility to temporarily raise a wireless-enabled thermostat a couple degrees during times of the highest electricity demand – typically a few times per summer.
APS will work with GE to provide the in-home devices as well as utilize the company’s demand response management software.
“With the Home Energy Information Pilot customers will tell us how they wish to package their energy usage information and which smart technologies they prefer to promote efficient energy use in their homes,” said APS President and Chief Operating Officer Don Robinson. “Energy efficiency is a viable resource for us, as much as coal or natural gas. It means smarter appliances, smarter homes and a smarter grid, working together to use less power to meet Arizona’s energy goals.”
Over the next decade, APS energy efficiency programs are expected to reduce energy demand by 6 million megawatt hours – the equivalent amount of electricity to power 400,000 homes, further reducing the need to build new power plants.
The Home Energy Information Pilot will leverage the two-way wireless communication abilities of smart meters, which are currently deployed to more than 600,000 APS customers.
“Smart meters empower customers with their usage data so they can make smart energy choices,” said APS Director of Energy Innovation Barbara Lockwood. “APS customers already have some of the most sophisticated energy habits in the country. In fact, they lead the nation in time-of-use programs that shift energy usage from afternoons to nights. We believe the pilot’s smart technologies and demand response programs will be a particularly good fit.”
In addition, in a separate part of the pilot, APS will launch a pre-pay energy service program to an additional 2,000 volunteers. Pre-pay energy service is an optional way to pay one’s electric bill. It allows a participant to pay as often as they want, in whatever increments fit their income patterns. No special equipment other than a phone or computer is required.
The Home Energy Information Pilot was approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission in February 2011.