Gas & Electric is offering Alarm.com customers who have that company's
wireless thermostat an increased credit within the Reduce Your Use program. The
peak credit - which SDG&E argues is not a rebate - is all carrot and no
stick, giving customers cash back on their bill when they cut back on
electricity use on critical peak days. The pilot has been going for about a
month and will run through the end of this year. EnergyHub customers are also available
for the higher rates with SDG&E. Earlier this year, CenterPoint teamed up
with WeatherBug to offer its home energy management app to customers that take
part in their residential demand response program.
customers with Alarm.com's technology, they will receive $1.25 in credit for
every kilowatt-hour saved during each event, compared to $0.75 that other
"As far as
I know, we're the first and only security platform that's integrating in a
program like this," said Alison Slavin, VP of product management for Alarm.com.
only about 1,000 Alarm.com customers that have the connected thermostat in
SDG&E's territory, which is home to about 3.4 million customers. The
homeowners who are eligible can sign up through Alarm.com's website and then
they can pick two options: to get alerts and then decide if they want to change
the thermostat, or let Alarm.com automate the thermostat to respond to events.
other demand response programs, where the utility sends a signal directly to
thermostats, for the Alarm.com customers, the signal and announcement of an
event goes to Alarm.com, which then sends out the alerts through their cellular
wireless network to connected devices.
opt to just get the alerts, they will get the alerts via their tablet,
smartphone, email or whatever medium they choose. They can then opt to adjust
the thermostat through those devices or on the thermostat itself (how
old-fashioned!). Or they can do nothing. EnergyHub has about 20 to 30 percent
of customers in the territory signing up for the program, with about two-thirds
of those that do sign up choosing the automatic setting.
option is to let Alarm.com adjust the thermostat for the duration of the four-
to six-hour event. Like many other companies that offer connected thermostat
services, Alarm.com tries to make the most of precooling and historical usage
to keep comfort maximized throughout the peak event. As always, there's an
automatically set the thermostat, the big area where we have a benefit is
activity patterns," said Slavin. Since the core business is security, Alarm.com
has historical usage on when families are in and out of the house. The company
will also be adding in location-based services, so it can turn lights on or
adjust the thermostat when a mom might be ten miles away from home with her
historical usage patterns mean that Alarm.com can fine-tune each home's
thermostat, with customized precooling, rather than just hiking up every home's
temperature to 79 degrees.
linking SDG&E and Alarm.com will likely continue for another year, but "the
plan is to evaluate the results," said Slavin.
evidence shows that customers are excited, she said, because this makes it easy
for them to get the credit without having to do anything, "but it's still
enough that the business model could also change, especially if Alarm.com
expands to other utilities. For now, the incentive is that more of the
company's security customers would want to get the added thermostat offering to
take advantage of SDG&E's program, rather than the utility paying Alarm.com
to be a part of the program.
connected home features are increasingly important for Alarm.com, which
recently raised $136 million for added services. Those services will include
lighting controls, home automation and weather forecasting. And as more
services are added in, there are more that could potentially be automated for
now, they have a pilot to get through. "This is all very exploratory," said
Slavin. "But it's something we're very excited about." For EnergyHub, which has
signed up four utilities to programs like this, it's still early, but it's here
to stay. "It's officially a trend," said Seth Frader-Thompson, CEO at
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