The Mayors of Oakland, San Jose, urge residents to participate within the Vitality Saving Problem. Sensible Thermostats Free – CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – The Mayors of Oakland and San Jose are among those who have partnered with a startup to challenge residents to save energy this summer.

Oakland-based OhmConnect is giving away 100,000 smart home thermostats before the warm summer weather to reduce demand on the state power grid. Customers then allow the company to remotely control the devices, most likely on hot days when homes across the area turn on air conditioning to cool their homes.

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“So what we’re doing with smart thermostats is actually pretty interesting. We adjust it easily and quietly in the background with your permission. You can overwrite it at any time. But there are slight changes in the background. And what this does is a little change in temperature, a little on that smart device, and a smart thermostat that adds up to thousands and hundreds of thousands of people across the state. That means that we save megawatts of energy. “Cisco DeVries CEO told KPIX 5.

Customers receive a notification on their smartphone via “OhmHours”, usually a one-hour window in the afternoon or evening, on warm days when the demand for electricity increases. To meet the assigned usage goals, users can delay the use of heavy equipment such as clothes dryers or electric car chargers. Customers then receive points that can be redeemed for cash or gift cards at local retailers.

On days with high demand, the Californian grid managers and utilities often trigger an emergency activation of coal or natural gas systems, which are expensive and emit greenhouse gases.

“And we’re getting paid for these reductions by the state grid managers and utilities because they can pay us instead of paying for electricity from a power plant,” DeVries said.

The California Energy Commission was an early funder that provided at least $ 7 million over the past few years. The KEK also awarded the grant for this latest smart thermostat giveaway.

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Commissioner Andrew MacAllister says smart devices have finally allowed public authorities to control demand in what is known as ‘charging flexibility’.

“We know that the time has come for loading flexibility. And so the ability to mobilize many small loads and give customers the opportunity to actually manipulate these loads or to allow them as part of the solution and change their energy consumption in order to react to what the grid has to save on a voluntary basis is one of the Resources that we will grow, ”said MacAllister.

Four cities participated in the OhmConnect City Energy Challenge on Wednesday: San Jose, Oakland, Fresno and Bakersfield. Each city was given 25,000 free smart thermostats. The city with the most new customers will receive an additional $ 50,000 scholarship.

“The cleanest energy is the energy we don’t use,” said Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose.

“Not only can you save the planet, save your paperback, but you can also promote environmental justice,” said Libby Schaaf, Oakland Mayor.

The city of Fresno has the largest number of OhmConnect customers in the state. 5% of their households have smart thermostats that are controlled by the company. Fresno had temperatures above 100 degrees for 36 days in the summer of 2020.

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“Last year there was a day in August when our townspeople made $ 89,000 in a single day for saving energy with OhmConnect,” said Jerry Dyer, Fresno Mayor. “It’s good not only to be able to save electricity in the grid, but also to be paid for it.”

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