Nest thermostat featured on CBS Sunday Morning

Michael Giberson

A good, quick introduction to the Nest thermostat along with some discussion of utility and other efforts to bring home energy management into the internet age: CBS Sunday Morning, “Dialing the thermostat into the digital age”

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8 thoughts on “Nest thermostat featured on CBS Sunday Morning

  1. My favorite line was from the Con-Ed spokesperson, who let us know that during times of peak energy use, Con Edison “will call upon” participants in the free thermostat program to “be part of a demand-reduction event.”

  2. In a situation in which peak demand exceeds peak supply, some group of customers would “be part of a demand reduction event”, regardless of whether they had received a free thermostat. Of course, the “demand reduction event” might be executed with a “blunt instrument”, rather than a scalpel. The motors in heat pump and air conditioner compressors and cooling fans do not like operating at reduced voltage (brownout). Consumers like blackouts even less.

    However, utilities might be preparing customers for more frequent brownouts and blackouts as EPA forces the closure of numerous coal-fired generators and the states mandate use of higher percentages of intermittent generation. (Can anyone say “California?)

  3. Re Con-Ed: “free” is not exactly free. Though as the video also pointed out, you can always override whatever demand-reduction instruction the utility sent out.

    Still, a much better approach would coordinate consumer reductions in consumption via price rather than via “free thermostat with strings attached” promotions. Price is a much better way to get low value energy uses to curtail while preserving high value energy uses. Of course, utilities usually don’t think much about using prices to coordinate supply and demand on their power systems.

  4. Mike,

    I would bet that utilities think about “using prices to coordinate supply and demand on their power systems”, especially with regard to residential and small commercial customers, more frequently and more seriously than regulators.

  5. Fat Man,

    The fact that you are not paranoid does not mean that someone is not out to get you. 😉

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