Some participants will also test demand response programs by allowing the utility to temporarily raise a wireless-enabled thermostat a couple degrees during times of the highest electricity demand a few times each summer. APS will work with GE to provide the in-home devices as well as utilize the company’s demand response management software.
APS President and Chief Operating Officer Don Robinson explains, “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. 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 six million megawatt hours, enough to power 400,000 homes. The reduction will lessen the need to build extremely expensive 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.
Barbara Lockwood, APS Director of Energy Innovation, adds: “Smart meters empower customers with their usage data so they can make smart energy choices. 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 a separate part of the pilot, APS will launch a pre-pay energy service program to an additional 2,000 volunteers, allowing participants to pay as often as they want, in whatever increments that fit their financial situation.
APS is Arizona’s largest and oldest electricity utility, serving more than one million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties.