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TEP: Adjust thermostat over Internet, save energy


A pilot program will offer homeowners the ability to control their air conditioning over the Internet, and help the electric company save energy.

Tucson Electric Power is launching a program that will change out thermostats for ones that can be controlled via the Internet. In exchange, the utility will be able to adjust the temperature in participating homes by up to 4 degrees at time of high demand, said Joseph Barrios, a TEP spokesman.

Participants in the TEP Power Partners program will be alerted when the company changes the temperature setting, and can override the move, Barrios said.

"This program give us a detailed look at what people are using electricity for, and different customers use energy in different ways," Barrios said.

TEP's goal is to increase awareness of responsible energy usage, so that they will be able to meet future demand.

The Arizona Corporation Commission's Energy Efficiency Standard requires utilities to increase kilowatt-hour savings by 22 percent by 2020. Now, the average annual kilowatt-hour usage is 10,580 per TEP customer, Barrios said. He expects to save 1.5 percent of energy by the end of this year and 3 percent the following year.

The program will include up to 600 homes and 200 small businesses.

Residential customers who are eligible must own their home, have central air conditioning and broadband Internet, and plan to stay in their home for at least one year.

Business are eligible if they own their property or rent but control the thermostat, and have average bills over $1,000 monthly.

Customers will not have to pay for the installation of the new equipment, but will pay their normal monthly electric bills.

More information and program applications are at tep.com.

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