In 2013, Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Co. partnered with Nest and EnergyHub to launch a smart thermostat demand-response (DR) pilot with about 3,000 customers. The goal of the program—called Save Power Day Incentive Plus—was to use smart thermostats to optimize energy efficiency and DR with customers’ HVAC systems. SCE built its program around the customer, keeping the three Cs in mind: comfort, choice, and cost. A bring-your-own-thermostat (BYOT) program, Save Power Day Incentive Plus offers customers a $100 rebate for the purchase and installation of a smart thermostat, along with a $25 added incentive for enrolling in the DR program. At the end of the pilot, SCE saw a load reduction of 680 watts per household. The following year produced even better results: 780 watts per household. The program now has 43,000 participants, due mostly to the attractive $125 incentive and SCE’s deliberate marketing strategy.

The utility built its program around the customer, keeping the three Cs in mind: comfort, choice, and cost.

Comfort. SCE precools the customer’s home, then ticks up the thermostat 2 to 4 degrees during the DR event. If it gets too uncomfortable for the customer, they can override the event by turning down their thermostat.

Choice. Now in its fifth year, the BYOT program allows customers to choose thermostats from vendors such as EnergyHub, Nest Labs, Simple, Venstar, Whisker Labs, and Zen Ecosystems.

Cost. With a $125 bill credit, the Save Power Day Incentive Plus program offers a low enrollment cost.

Watch this video excerpt from the 2017 E Source Forum where Eryc Eyl, E Source’s customer experience expert, interviews David Kaintz, SCE’s senior manager of new product development, about the program’s design, promotion, and results.

 

Contributing Authors

Associate Director, Distributed Energy Resource Strategy Service

Courtney Welch provides research, analysis, and consultation to members on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and DSM policy and program issues,...