BC Hydro can remotely lower your thermostat to reduce energy consumption in this voluntary program

BC Hydro can remotely lower your thermostat to reduce energy consumption in this voluntary program
Photo courtesy CBC.

British Columbians looking to save money can participate in a unique BC Hydro program that allows the company to control some of your smart devices to reduce energy consumption during peak times.

The program, called “Peak Rewards,” lets BC Hydro do things like reduce the temperature of your house by several degrees through a smart thermostat, or delay the charging of an electric vehicle, during peak hours.

The “peak time events” would not last for more than four consecutive hours at a time, and residents would still be able to manually override all of their enrolled devices, according to BC Hydro.

After a peak time event ends, enrolled devices would continue working as usual.

The program is voluntary and participants would receive a $50 annual reward for each device category that’s enrolled in the program.

“People are looking to be part of the solution and want to be part of an efficient energy system that’s cost effective for their homes – so this is an option for them to participate in,” said B.C. Energy Minister Josie Osborne on Wednesday.

She added that the new program was launched after it was recommended through phase two of the province’s comprehensive BC Hydro review.

“So Hydro is providing just one more option for people to be able to do things, like making the switch to heat pumps or making the switch to electric vehicles, so they’re part of the energy transition solution,” she said

Osbourne adds that the province is “never going to consider this to be a mandatory program,” similar to BC Hydro’s proposed optional residential time-of-use rate program.

The BC Utilities Commission is currently reviewing BC Hydro’s application to have residents opt in to a time-of-use rate, which would offer customers cheaper rates if they use electricity in off-peak hours, such as charging electric vehicles overnight instead of in the afternoon or right after work.

That application is still under review by the BCUC.

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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