TEP customers can manage energy use, reduce bills with new pilot program

Tucson Electric Power’s residential customers are invited to participate in the latest phase of a no-cost pilot program that can help them to reduce energy consumption and lower their electric bills.

TEP customers can receive goal-setting and performance-tracking tools, personalized energy efficiency suggestions and expert advice through the new TEP Power Partners Project.

Advanced monitoring equipment is used to capture energy consumption data from customer meters at least every 15 minutes. Data is analyzed and used to prepare personalized energy-saving strategies, and participants will be able to use web and mobile dashboards at any time to see how and where energy is being used in their home.

This new TEP Power Partners Project is being funded through a Department of Energy (DOE) Smart Grid Data Access Award and leveraged grant funds from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy. According to the DOE, funded programs are intended to show how convenient tools and services can help consumers make informed decisions about their energy consumption and help encourage the development of energy applications.

While customers pay nothing to participate, they may find the personalized information helpful in reducing their monthly electric bills.

Up to 1,700 residential customers will be able to participate in the program, which is slated to last for about 15 months. Participants must be TEP customers with broadband Internet access who plan to stay in their homes for at least one year. Other conditions may apply.

Once eligible participants complete an online application and are approved to participate in the program, TEP’s contractor, Tendril, will make arrangements to install energy-management equipment in the customer’s home. Some customers will be sent self-installation kits.

Participants will be provided with equipment including a Tendril “Translate” device that transmits data about current consumption levels and a Tendril “Transport” device, which establishes a single-purpose home area network (HAN) that opens a channel of interaction between TEP and the customer.

Initially, TEP and Tendril will seek participation from 700 customers who participated in an earlier Power Partners initiative, plus 1,000 additional customers. TEP customers can sign up for the program by visiting tep.com.

The DOE-awarded program follows on the heels of a demand response load control program initiated in 2010 and concluded successfully in October.

Participants in the completed pilot program were able to monitor and adjust the temperature of their home or business remotely, and allowed TEP system operators to cycle off a customer’s air conditioner or to adjust the customer’s thermostat during periods of peak electric demand.

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