• Energy Management Platform Blends Demand Response and Efficiency Programs to Deliver Peak and Permanent Savings
• Consumer-Friendly Technology Could Raise Program Participation, Megawatt Impact 50 Percent or More Above Average
• Pacific Gas and Electric Company Trial Shows Customers Embrace Wi-Fi Thermostat and Energy Coaching App
MINNEAPOLIS and ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 29, 2013 – Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and Opower today introduced new technology that will help utilities attract more homeowners to voluntary programs that curb the demand for electricity, and help create a stable and effective energy grid without new power plants.
The Energy Management Platform drives program participation by giving homeowners the latest tools to easily balance comfort, convenience and cost. It also merges demand response and energy-efficiency programs for utilities — traditionally separate activities — to streamline deployment and management, and boost overall results. This is the first technology to provide utilities with both auditable peak and permanent load reduction.
According to a 2012 E Source survey of more than half of the demand response programs in the U.S., the average participation rate for residential customers is 13 percent. Honeywell and Opower expect the new platform to drive rates to at least 20 percent, a more than 50 percent increase, due to consumer-friendly features like mobile access to energy information and control. This would provide an additional 220 megawatts of peak shed capacity just to the utilities surveyed, equivalent to the output of more than four gas-fired peaking plants.
In addition, the platform uses proven measurement techniques to deliver ongoing, verifiable energy savings every day — savings widely accepted by regulatory agencies, which utilities can count toward their annual efficiency goals.
The Energy Management Platform combines Honeywell’s best-selling Wi-Fi thermostat and Akuacom utility management software with Opower’s interactive, cloud-based application to give homeowners the ability to view and adjust energy use from anywhere via smartphone or the Web. The app offers tips and coaching to help increase efficiency and deliver long-term savings.
Honeywell and Opower are currently testing the platform in a trial with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), one of the largest utilities in the U.S., serving customers in northern and central California. As part of the trial, Honeywell and Opower are recruiting participants and installing more than 500 free thermostats to validate energy savings.
The goal is to gauge customer acceptance of and experience with the technology. The program is also intended to confirm the savings that are realistic for customers in PG&E’s diverse service area against the hypothesis that the thermostat and app will help save up to 5 percent of whole-house electricity and gas use. The trial will conclude in the first quarter of 2014, but PG&E has garnered initial findings, which were published in a recent report. So far, customers find the technology accessible and intuitive, and use it to actively manage comfort and consumption.
The Energy Management Platform is the initial output of Honeywell and Opower’s development efforts, which couple Honeywell’s expertise and innovation in designing simple-to-use smart home controls with Opower’s leading data analytics and engagement. The platform creates an end-to-end connection between the utility and consumer. And combined with Honeywell’s experience in the design, marketing and delivery of demand response and energy efficiency programs, the technology can provide new levels of simplicity and value for utilities.
“As separate efforts, demand response and efficiency programs can offer significant benefits to utilities and customers, but it’s typically been hard to measure and verify their effectiveness,” said Alex Kinnier, senior vice president of Product Management at Opower. “By combining these efforts and providing a way to help utilities generate real, measurable savings, we’ve created a new, more cost-effective and capable model.”
“Program participation can’t be a one-way proposition,” said Jeremy Eaton, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Smart Grid Solutions. “To maximize enrollment, utilities must provide real, tangible benefits to consumers. We’re bridging the gap by providing mobility, relatable energy information, precise control and other features customers want so utilities can reach deeper levels of connectivity and participation.”
Along with the convenience of the app, the platform encourages efficiency by walking users through a simple questionnaire that automatically creates a setback schedule. As a result, all thermostats are fully programmed upon installation and can drive energy savings, reducing air-conditioning use up to 20 percent and heating up to 15 percent.
For utilities, the platform includes the Demand Response Automation Server (DRAS) from Akuacom, a Honeywell business, which creates a secure, two-way path between the utility operations center and residence, enabling utilities to temporarily control air conditioners and other equipment when energy use spikes and threatens grid stability, usually on the hottest weekdays of the year. It also gives real-time feedback on the impact of demand response events.
The Energy Management Platform can serve a broad range of customers, helping utilities increase the number of eligible participants for their programs. The technology is engineered to accommodate almost all residential heating and cooling systems. And it takes advantage of widely-available Wi-Fi networks. More than 60 percent of U.S. homes have Wi-Fi connectivity and many more have access to broadband networks. Wi-Fi is even more prevalent in Canada, where the platform is also available.
For more information, please visit the Honeywell and Opower websites, or follow HoneywellGrid and Opower on Twitter.
Honeywell International (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.
Working with 80 utility partners, Opower is the world’s leading customer engagement solutions provider for the utility industry. Opower’s customer engagement platform and solution suite enables utilities to involve their customers in programs that drive energy efficiency goals, smart grid and new rate acceptance, brand loyalty and lower costs of service. Proven to drive behavioral change at scale, Opower products and services help customers save energy and money, drive significant increases in customer participation in other utility programs, and increase overall customer satisfaction. Founded in 2007 and privately held, Opower is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with offices in San Francisco and London.
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