Westar Energy offers programmable thermostat program

Wichita, Kan., October 7, 2009 — Westar Energy is launching WattSaver, a home thermostat program designed to help customers save energy while helping the utility delay the need for new power plants.

Participants in the program receive a free programmable Honeywell UtilityPRO thermostat.

Because the WattSaver thermostat is both programmable and more accurate than older, conventional thermostats, participants can save up to 20 percent on their annual heating and cooling costs.

Participants also become part of the solution to help balance the increasing demand with the supply of electricity in Kansas. On the hottest weekday afternoons from June through September, when demands on Westar Energy’s system are the highest, the utility can call on these thermostats to reduce energy demand.

If a participant decides to no longer participate in the WattSaver program, Westar Energy will reinstall the participant’s original thermostat at no cost to the participant.

By reducing the demand for electricity, WattSaver participants help Westar Energy avoid buying expensive power on the wholesale market and help delay the need to build new power plants.

The WattSaver operations will be based in Wichita, bringing more than 20 new jobs to the city.

The program initially will focus on gaining participation in the Wichita area and then will be available to customers throughout the Westar Energy service territory.

Westar Energy aims to install 90,000 thermostats by 2016. This will provide about 90 MW of demand reduction, which would avoid the need to construct a small peaking power plant.

WattSaver thermostats reduce demand by cycling the compressor of participants’ central air conditioners and heat pumps in a coordinated effort, alternating 15 minutes on with 15 minutes off.

During this time, the fan on the equipment runs continuously to help maintain comfort in the participant’s home. These cycling events normally last about four hours or less and occur infrequently and only on weekdays — never on weekends or holidays. Participants may choose to not participate in one cycling event per month.

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