Smart Thermostat Savings

Thermostat Optimization Program FAQs

What is thermostat optimization?

Thermostat optimization is a process that uses data from your smart thermostat to learn how your home reacts to various weather conditions. With these insights, your smart thermostat can automatically make intelligent adjustments that are customized to your specific home. As a result, you can enjoy comfort and energy savings all year long.

Doesn’t my smart thermostat already optimize my settings?

While smart thermostats do typically help increase your energy efficiency, the Thermostat Optimization Program fine tunes your smart thermostat settings to make it even more efficient, helping you save energy while keeping you comfortable.

Is thermostat optimization the same thing as Pepco’s Energy Wise Rewards?

Energy Wise Rewards is Pepco’s demand response program, which typically reduces energy consumption by cycling your central air conditioner or heat pump over short intervals during the hottest days of the season. Thermostat Optimization does not limit the run times of your HVAC unit, but provides fine-tuned adjustments to your thermostat scheduling. You can participate in both the Thermostat Optimization Program and Energy Wise Rewards.

How much does thermostat optimization cost?

There is no additional charge to a Pepco Maryland residential customer for participating in this program.

What is a virtual energy assessment?

A virtual energy assessment is a simple way to use your thermostat data to uncover potential inefficiencies in energy use. Using a combination of thermostat, weather and energy consumption data, algorithms are used to determine intelligent suggestions on how to improve comfort and lower energy costs. By participating in the Thermostat Optimization Program, after each heating and cooling season, you’ll have the added benefit of receiving customized recommendations of measures you can take to improve your comfort and lower your energy costs.

What energy savings can I expect if I enroll in the Thermostat Optimization Program?

Your energy savings will depend on several factors, such as your thermostat schedule, your home’s construction and your HVAC equipment. Customers can typically expect to save up to 3% on the heating and cooling portion of their energy bills, in addition to the savings attributed to just the smart thermostat. Energy savings are attributed to customer schedules and may exceed this in some cases.

What if I need to change my thermostat settings?

You can adjust your smart thermostat settings at any time.

What is the difference between Nest Seasonal Savings and Whisker Labs Connected Savings?

Pepco is partnering with Nest and Whisker Labs to optimize your thermostat. Nest runs Seasonal Savings as their proprietary program to optimize Nest thermostats. Whisker Labs runs Connected Savings, which works with several smart thermostat manufacturers such as ecobee, Honeywell, and Emerson. Both Seasonal Savings and Connected Savings have their own way of optimizing their respective thermostats, but both work to reduce HVAC run times and reduce your energy costs through the Thermostat Optimization Program.

Can I unenroll from Pepco’s Thermostat Optimization Program?

If your optimized thermostat setting is not comfortable, you can change the temperature on your thermostat at any time. If you prefer to unenroll from the program completely, you can unenroll at any time.

To unenroll completely, please submit a request in your Connected Savings portal or email PepcoTStatOpt@icf.com.

To completely unenroll your Nest thermostat, In the Nest app, go to your thermostat > History. If Seasonal Savings is running, you will see how many days remain and also a Stop button.

What if my smart thermostat is not listed on the Eligible Smart Thermostat Models page?

If your thermostat isn’t currently listed as eligible, you have two options:

  • Purchase an eligible smart thermostat or have one installed through Pepco’s other residential energy efficiency programs. Be sure to confirm the model is eligible for the Thermostat Optimization Program before purchasing.
  • Complete the portal application after selecting “My device is not listed.” We’ll keep you updated as additional thermostats are added.
What if I have multiple smart thermostat brands in my house?

To be eligible for the Thermostat Optimization Program and Energy Wise Rewards, all smart thermostats in your home will have to be enrolled in the program. Pepco will optimize up to three thermostats. If not all your smart thermostats are eligible models, you are not able to participate in either program.

Will you be sharing my data?

Pepco, the smart thermostat manufacturers, and Pepco’s partner, Whisker Labs, treat all customer data as confidential and will only use your data to implement the program. For evaluation, measurement & verification purposes, your thermostat data may be used in aggregate for reporting purposes to the Maryland Public Service Commission. For further details, please refer to the Smart Thermostat Optimization Terms and Conditions here.

Does my thermostat have to stay connected to Wi-Fi?

Pepco’s Thermostat Optimization Program and Energy Wise Rewards rely on being able to communicate with your thermostat, which requires a Wi-Fi connection. While temporary outages may not have significant impacts, your thermostat must remain connected to your home’s Wi-Fi to achieve the full benefits of this program. You may be removed from either or both programs if your thermostat is not connected for extended periods of time.

Energy Wise Rewards FAQs

How does Energy Wise Rewards work?

On Peak Savings Days, select days between June and October, Pepco will automatically initiate conservation periods for participating central air conditioners and heat pumps to help balance the region’s demand for electricity. The more participants in the program, the greater the likelihood of reduced duration for any single conservation period. Energy Wise Rewards works best as a community-wide effort.

How often will Energy Wise Rewards be activated?

The number of conservation periods depends on many factors, including weather, peak electricity demand, and wholesale energy costs. Energy Wise Rewards is only activated during times of high electricity demand, emergency conditions, or system testing. As such, there may be as few as 2 Peak Savings Days, or as many as a dozen. In a typical year, one can expect 5 or less events.

When and for how long will a conservation period last?

Conservation periods during a Peak Savings Day typically occur on weekday afternoons and can last anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. If PJM* calls a conservation period (Priority Peak Day) for reliability reasons, it will last until the situation is resolved; therefore, Pepco cannot state how long an event of this type may last.

What causes peak electricity demand?

Peak electricity demand occurs when everyone uses a lot of electricity at the same time, creating stresses on the energy supply. The frequency of critical peak demand periods has increased as the population and the use of electric products has increased. Energy Wise Rewards is just one way Pepco is managing the rising demand for electricity, averting power outages, and helping the environment by reducing emissions produced on summer days.

Will Energy Wise Rewards affect my comfort level?

You may or may not notice that an Energy Wise Rewards conservation period is occurring. Participating in Energy Wise Rewards with your smart thermostat minimizes discomfort because it adjusts the temperature settings before a conservation period, so you stay comfortable. However, the temperature in a typical home may rise 1-3 degrees by the end of a conservation event. Variables such as home insulation, shaded windows, the use of ceiling fans, and the amount of foot traffic can affect the inside temperature.

Am I permitted to “opt out” of a conservation period?

Yes. To opt out, simply change the temperature on your smart thermostat. Most customers will not notice a difference in comfort during a 3- to 4-hour conservation period. The smart thermostat will cool your home before the conservation period occurs, so you stay comfortable. Using shades or blinds on sunny windows or turning on the ceiling fans will also help to keep cool. Staying in the conservation event ensures the demand for energy is minimized and outages are averted.

I already participate in Energy Wise Rewards by using the program’s web-programmable thermostat or outdoor switch. Can I participate in Energy Wise Rewards with my new smart thermostat?

Current Energy Wise Rewards participants who would like to transition from an Energy Wise Rewards thermostat to a smart thermostat can still participate in the program! Please contact us so your Energy Wise Rewards thermostat can be collected. Then, install your eligible smart thermostat and enroll in Energy Wise Rewards here.

If you have an Energy Wise Rewards outdoor switch and are participating in the program, you should not enroll your smart thermostat in Energy Wise Rewards. You can continue to participate in Energy Wise Rewards via your outdoor switch and enroll your smart thermostat in the Thermostat Optimization Program here.

EmPOWER Maryland programs are funded by a charge on your energy bill. EmPOWER programs can help you reduce your energy consumption and save you money. To learn more about EmPOWER and how you can participate, click here.

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