Nest can slash people's energy use during peak prices

It will auto-adjust temperatures based on California residents' Time of Use rates.

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Mariella Moon
June 21, 2016 3:00 PM
Nest can slash people's energy use during peak prices

In California, energy companies have to switch all customers to Time of Use (TOU) rate plans by 2019. Under TOU, energy prices change throughout the day -- it won't be easy to monitor rates and adjust cooling and heating manually every hour or so. To help users stick to their budget, Nest is introducing a new feature called "Time of Savings." The service shares customers' TOU rate info with Nest, which then auto-adjusts itself to reduce energy consumption during the most expensive periods. Nest will only change the temperature by a degree or two, though, and users will have to tweak it themselves if they want to save more money.

According to Nest's announcement, the feature will only be available to its energy partners' customers, since companies have to be willing to share TOU rates with the thermostat maker. At the moment, the only people who can access Time of Savings are SolarCity subscribers, but Nest says it's already in talks with other energy providers not just in the Golden State (including Southern California Edison), but across North America.

Ben Bixby, Nest's director of energy and enterprise business, said in a statement:

"The California Public Utilities Commission has mandated that the state's major utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison – move their residential customers to TOU rates by 2019. This means millions of California homes will be billed for energy differently in just a few years. Working with our energy partners, we designed Time of Savings to help customers manage these changing pricing schedules and make it easy for them to use less energy without sacrificing comfort. We're excited that SolarCity is our first partner to offer Time of Savings and Nest is working with regulated energy providers across North America to offer this new service."

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