Forget saving on your electric bill–why not make money off it?

Honeywell, the inventor of the original coal furnace thermostat, is churning out a feature that alerts users of “Demand Response” energy events–times when everyone in your neighborhood is plugging in too many devices into the power grid, putting the community at risk for blackouts and power outages–and works with your local energy provider to offer incentives for trimming usage.

“The same technology people purchase today to lower their heating bills can pay extra dividends in the summer months,” said Tony Uttley, general manager of Home Comfort and Energy Systems at Honeywell. “Honeywell can easily link homeowners to these additional savings.”

During summer heat waves when air conditioners put power plants at maximum capacity, utility companies often compensate customers who are willing to raise their home’s temperature a few degrees for a couple of hours.

This utility program often means extra $$$ for clients who are willing to participate, and even rebates for installing hardware like Honeywell’s Wi-Fi thermostat.

Homeowners can also control the thermostat using an app called the Total Connect Comfort, available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

“Broadband access has created a new and far-ranging path for electric companies and homeowners to connect,” said Jeremy Eaton, vice president of Honeywell Smart Grid Solutions. “As a result, more utilities are moving toward a model that allows customers to bring their own device to a program, increasing the likely participants and savings exponentially.”

If just a quarter of U.S. homes with central air conditioning joined these programs, the country could cut the demand for energy by almost 19 gigawatts — equivalent to the generation capacity of nearly 250 of the power plants utilities rely on to meet peak electricity needs.

The feature is already available on select Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostats and will be slowly available on the entire line by next year.

Via Gizmodo and WSJ.

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