Nest Labs, the company behind the Nest Learning Thermostat, has partnered with NRG Energy and its subsidiary regional utilities to bring rewards and additional energy savings to over 90 million Americans.
There are two partnerships being enacted in conjunction with NRG subsidiaries Reliant, Green Mountain Energy, National Grid, Austin Energy and Southern California Edison. The Rush Hour Rewards program helps customers earn money or credits worth around $20-to-$60 a season from their energy provider by using less energy when everyone else is using more. When using the program Nest will automatically return to your regular temperature outside of peak demand, and customers can always override Nest’s temperature changes.
The Seasonal Savings program fine-tunes customers’ temperature schedule just a few degrees over a few weeks at the start of winter and summer to reduce energy usage while still keeping homes at a comfortable level. Nest estimates that the Seasonal Savings initiative can save 5-to-10 percent on energy for heating and cooling. In Nest trials, 80 percent of participants kept their new schedules after the Seasonal Savings service was completed.
According to data from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency and Pike Research, in 2011, energy companies allocated approximately $9 billion to energy efficiency and peak-reduction programs. Nest says that the partnerships have the potential to make these programs not only more effective, but also “effortless” for consumers.
In March 2012, NRG Energy announced plans to build an electric vehicle charging network of at least 200 stations and provide the wiring for at least 10,000 more investing about $100 million over the next four years in an agreement reached with the California Public Utilities Commission. The 200 fee-based charging stations will be able to add 50 miles of range in less than 15 minutes of charging. The plan includes stations in the San Francisco Bay area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego County.