The smart thermostat from Nest just got a little smarter: by teaming up with utility providers, the device can now predict when power will be in high demand and price, and tweak your heating accordingly.
The new system links the device to a collective, cloud-based knowledge of utility companies. If you're with an Energy Services-aware power company, the thermostat will learn of upcoming peak energy periods—where power is in high demand and prices rocket as a result—which are sometimes known as rush hours. With that data, it will fine tune your heating, using less energy while it's expensive.
The cloud will also feed the device data about seasonal discounts, allowing it to fine tune the heating to save you as much cash as possible over the longer term, too. Sadly, only Austin Energy, Green Mountain Energy, Reliant and Southern California Edison have joined forces to make the scheme happen so far. There are deals to be had with provides, though—customers of National Grid can get a $100 rebate through Nest, and Reliant offer a free thermostat with some plans—and it seems likely that other provides will join the fold soon. [Nest][Amazon]