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Ecobee’s Peak Relief saves money, reduces energy use when demand is high

Ecobee is testing a new feature called Peak Relief that’s designed to help customers with Time of Use utility rate plans stay comfortable and save money.

Time of Use (TOU) plans charge customers higher rates for electricity during times of peak energy use and lower rates during off-peak times. TOU plans often have peak, shoulder, and off-peak time schedules and the schedules can vary seasonally. Customers can save money by running dryers and dishwashers during off-peak times, for example, or by adjusting the temperature by a couple of degrees during peak pricing times.

Running appliances and managing temperature settings to minimize energy use when demand is high and maximize cost savings requires keeping track of peak, shoulder, and off-peak schedules and taking consistent action. Planning for temperature adjustments is essential to avoid feeling too cold in winter early morning hours or too hot in the middle of the day during the summer.

More about smart thermostats

Ecobee’s Peak Relief feature is designed to optimize home thermostat settings for greatest comfort and savings. With Peak Relief, customers who have TOU plans and newer Ecobee smart thermostats can enable the feature in the Ecobee mobile app.

Peak Relief uses information about your electricity rates, comfort preferences, your home’s energy efficiency, and local weather forecasts to run your heating and cooling systems just before peak rate periods for the right amount of time to help you stay comfortable.

According to Ecobee, if you reduce your energy usage during peak periods, you also can help reduce the risk of blackouts in your neighborhood. So Peak Relief can be a win-win-win: stay comfortable, save money, and help your neighbors.

Two modes in the Peak Relief program let you choose to save without going outside your comfort temperature zones, or maximize your savings by letting the program adjust the temperature a few degrees. You can change settings or turn off the Peak Relief feature at any time with a quick tap in the mobile app.

Ecobee started a pilot program for Peak Relief in select areas in California, Ontario, and Arizona.

To use the Peak Relief feature, when it is available where you live, you’ll have to be on a Time of Use rate plan with your energy company and have an electric heating or cooling system. Also, you’ll need an iOS device for the Ecobee mobile app and either an Ecobee3, Ecobee3 lite, or Echobee4 Smart Thermostat.

You can sign up on the Ecobee website to be notified when Peak Relief is available in your community.

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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