Reliant Energy, a leading Texas retail electricity provider, is offering an interesting new deal to its customers in order to save electricity all over the state. Under the new program, which is completely voluntary, customers who opt into the deal would relinquish a bit of their control over their thermostat during the Texas summer heat, and Reliant would pay them for it.
The program is simple. Customers use Nest, a thermostat system owned by Google that can be controlled using a wireless internet connection. When the demand for electricity gets particularly high, as in very hot Texas summer months, Reliant can use Nest to remotely shut off customers’ air conditioning units for 30 minutes or less, thereby reducing state-wide electricity consumption. Reliant would then pay participating customers 80 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity they did not use. How much they electricity they avoided using will be calculated based on comparisons to their historic electricity usage.