Ecobee smart thermostats now save you money during peak hours

Peak Relief lowers energy use when it's expensive.

Ecobee now has an answer to Nest's peak-usage energy savings. It's launching a Peak Relief pilot program that automatically cuts down on heating and cooling when electricity rates are at their highest. It uses your comfort preferences, home energy efficiency and the weather forecast to ramp up the heat or AC right before peak times so that you can reap the benefits of your smart thermostat without paying quite so dearly for the privilege. Ecobee reckons that you'll save an additional 10 percent on your bills on top of the 23 percent you're normally supposed to save.

Peak Relief works with Ecobee 3, Ecobee 3 Lite and Ecobee 4 thermostats, but that's not the only requirement -- where you live also matters. The pilot is currently limited to certain users in Arizona, California and the Canadian province of Ontario, and then only for people who both have electric heating/cooling and hour-by-hour utility billing. If everything aligns, though, you won't have to panic when you need air conditioning on a hot night after work.