Commentary: El Paso Electric (EPE) is proud to launch the first demand response initiative for EPE customers. Through the use of customer-owned smart Wi-Fi enabled thermostats, the eSmart Thermostat Program partners with customers to reduce their electricity use during peak times in the summer months. This three year pilot program will measure ways to effectively reduce EPE’s summer peak energy demand.
“As our community grows, so do our energy needs; and we’ve seen the electric demand peak increase in eleven of the past twelve years,” said Mary Kipp, El Paso Electric CEO. “This program, which has been tested in some version in utilities across the country, allows our community and EPE to work together to be more energy efficient and reduce peak demands on our system.”
The pilot program will be available for up to 3,000 thermostat devices for residential and small commercial customers in EPE’s Texas and New Mexico service area who have central refrigerated air units, Wi-Fi in their home or business, and at least one eligible smart thermostat already installed by the customer.
This voluntary program allows EPE to remotely communicate with customers’ smart thermostats connected to their central refrigerated A/C unit(s) in an attempt to reduce electrical load during times of high energy demand. EPE is offering a one-time enrollment incentive of $125 for each smart thermostat enrolled by the customer and approved by EPE. In addition, a $25 annual participation incentive will be issued at the end of each demand response season, a period from June 1 through September 30 of each calendar year.
During times of high energy usage, EPE may initiate demand response events in which EPE will send a signal to the customer’s smart thermostat to slightly modify the temperature setting by a few degrees. Each demand response event can last a maximum of four hours. Customers can easily opt out of an event at any time, for any reason. The applicable hours for demand response events are 2:00 PM through 8:00 PM MDT, on non-holiday weekdays during the demand response season.
For a list of participating vendors, eligible thermostat models or to learn more, customers are encouraged to visit epelectric.com. Customers may also begin to receive enrollment notifications from the participating vendors if customers currently have one of the eligible thermostats installed in their home or business.