Free Module-App Combo Allows Customers to Control ACs through the InternetLisa Markowski for Zondits, June 30, 2014
Con Edison is once again offering its residential customers free technology to control their window air conditioners via the cloud. Through the CoolNYC program, a partnership with New York-based green-tech company ThinkEco, Con Ed offers up to five of the smartAC devices – called modlets — to qualified customers.
The AC is plugged into the modlet, which is then plugged into the wall and interfaced with the remote-controlled thermostat that is also provided. The consumer then downloads an iOS application from ThinkEco in order to control the AC through their smartphone or browser. The app also enables longer-term scheduling for fully automated control.
The energy conservation program was launched at the start of the 2011 cooling season. Earlier this year it won a POWERGRID International Project of the Year Award, in the Customer Engagement category.
Con Ed data shows there are more than six million window AC units within their service area, making up about 20% of the demand during peak periods. Those who accept the free devices, which normally retail for $120, must agree to participate in the utility’s demand response program. Through the technology involved, Con Edison can focus on a specific region in their service area during demand emergencies to reach connected ACs and raise their setpoint to relieve load on the grid and prevent outages.
Con Ed, which expects only a handful of such days all summer, allows participants to opt out of these events individually. Customers who sign up for the modlets also receive a $25 gift card as an incentive at the end of the cooling season.
Program participants appreciate the ability to turn off ACs they have forgotten to turn off and to turn them on for cooling spaces before they arrive home. “This totally works,” said Washington Heights resident Steve Corsello, who received three units last summer. “It’s so nice to be able to turn your AC on 15 minutes before you get home so it’s not roasting when you open the door.”
Visit the CoolNYC website for more information.