T&D World Magazine

TEP Customers Can Reduce Energy Bills Through New Pilot Program

Tucson Electric Power’s residential and small business customers are invited to participate in a new no-cost pilot program that can help them to reduce energy consumption and lower their electric bills.

Through the new TEP Power Partners pilot program, participants will receive a free, state-of-the-art thermostat and other equipment that allows them to monitor and adjust the temperature of their home or business remotely. It also allows TEP’s system operators to cycle off a customer's air conditioner or to adjust the customer’s thermostat during periods of peak electric demand.

Customers pay nothing to participate and may find the program helpful in reducing their monthly electric bill, said Denise Smith, director of Demand Side Resources for TEP.

Up to 600 residential and 200 small business customers will be able to participate in the program, which is slated to last for two years. Participants must be TEP customers with both central air conditioning and broadband Internet access who plan to stay in their homes for at least one year. Other conditions may apply.

Once eligible participants complete an online application and are approved to participate in the program, TEP’s contractor, Tendril Networks, will make arrangements to install state-of-the-art energy management equipment in the customer’s home or business. That equipment includes networked programmable thermostats that will allow TEP system controllers to adjust individual customer settings during times of peak demand. Load control switches installed on customers’ air conditioning compressors will allow TEP to reduce run times, thus reducing energy consumption. Participants can choose to override TEP’s adjustments at any time.

Customers will be able to access their own near-real time usage data in order to make informed decisions about energy consumption. Residential customers who remain in the program for two years will receive a financial incentive of $50. The pilot program will help TEP evaluate the effectiveness of energy management programs and their effect on customer satisfaction.

TEP customers can sign up for the program by visiting tep.com.

The pilot program is one of several designed to help TEP comply with Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Standards, which were approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2010. The rules require electric utilities to increase the energy savings realized through energy efficiency programs each year until the cumulative reduction reaches 22 percent by 2020.

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