Northwest Renewable News

Your Daily Source for Renewable Energy News in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana & Northern California

Let PSE manage your thermostat and get paid November 26, 2009

Filed under: Smart Grid,Utility Companies,Washington — nwrenewablenews @ 6:39 pm
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Puget Sound Energy wants to take control of hundreds of thermostats so it can decide when to heat homes and when to cool off.

And homeowners don’t seem to mind the plan.

Under the plan, an Internet-powered system will adjust the temperature inside 700 homes according to the utility’s needs across the grid.

“Customers who volunteer will see their water heater turned back a bit and their furnace turned back a bit to better manage energy on the coldest days of the year,” said PSE spokesman Andy Wappler.

The PSE is giving smart grid technology a trial run. If power use can be balanced, the need to build a new substation could be delayed. PSE says its Bainbridge Island is near its limit.

Theresa Torseth volunteered for the two-year trial. In exchange, she’ll get a $50 check at the end of each year.

“I don’t want my rates hiked up again and hopefully, this will help,” she said.

A device at Torseth’s home is hooked up to the PSE’s Internet-based system, and her furnace and water heater take the system’s cues. Torseth says she doesn’t mind giving up control of her own thermostat.

“I didn’t feel so much like it was giving control as it was letting somebody see where the peaks were across the island. So we could even it out and spread it across everybody, so nobody was having to have some spike and therefore be out of power,” she said.

PSE says the temperature will drop only a few degrees for participating customers. The utility hopes the little changes go a long way.

And ultimately, the volunteers do have control. There’s an override switch they can flip any time to turn up the heat.

Sabra Gertsch, KOMO News


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