With people plugging more and more devices into the power grid, public utilities across the country are finding it increasingly difficult to effectively manage during peak demand. Honeywell's line of Wi-Fi-connected smart thermostats are now doing their part to help.
These events are actually quite preventable, were everybody in the community on-board with making small adjustments to their power usage during these peak times—say during a heatwave when everybody has their A/C turned up to 11. If enough folks raise their homes' temperature by just a few degrees, rolling blackouts can be averted. Honeywell's line of Wi-Fi connected smart thermostats will soon do their part to help keep the lights on by alerting users to these Demand Response energy events. They might even help you save a few bucks off your next utility bill.
With a firmware update rolling out today, Honeywell's Wi-Fi thermostat line will now be able to communicate with participating public utilities and alert homeowners to these events and prompt them to participate through the system's Total Connect Comfort app, especially when the utility is offering credit incentives. The thermostat won't take any action on its own mind you—this isn't some backdoor for the PUC fiddle with your heat—it simply tells you what's going on and how you can make some money from it.
The feature is already available on a few of Honeywell's Wi-Fi models and is expected to be available on the entire line by early next year. Honeywell estimates that if just a quarter of US homes adopted these devices, the country could cut its demand by nearly 19 GW—roughly the peak output of 250 commonly used PUC power plants.