National Grid is taking measures to decrease electricity usage during peak times in Kenmore and portions of its immediate surrounding area.
The utility company, along with technology company ThinkEco, is giving free smartAC kits – and $30 – to qualifying residents.
The kits connect to a home’s air conditioner via Wi-Fi. allowing the resident to control temperatures from a smartphone or computer.
It also allows National Grid to conduct “conservation events,” during which the utility can adjust the unit’s temperature to conserve energy during peak times.
Consumers with central air conditioning may qualify to receive a free Wi-Fi programmable thermostat, including free installation.
Participants will also receive $30 for participating, plus an extra $20 if they participate in at least 80 percent of the company’s conservation events.
Residents rarely detect the change in temperature during a conservation event, but are free to opt out of the program if they find the temperature changes unacceptable.
To be eligible, National Grid customers must live in qualifying areas in or near Kenmore and have Wi-Fi in their home. To qualify for a Wi-Fi thermostat, they’ll need a wall thermostat that controls both their home’s heating and central cooling. For a smartAC kit, participants must have either a window-unit air conditioner or a Wi-Fi capable Friedrich Kuhl or Frigidaire Gallery Cool Connect air conditioner.
The freebies are part of National Grid and ThinkEco’s coolControl program. The groups are working to identify additional areas in which to expand the program.
Kenmore was chosen for the initial rollout because its future electricity needs are expected to overload the utility’s equipment sometime in the future.
For more information, or to sign up, visit CoolControlProgram.com. For a list of eligible addresses outside Kenmore, click the “How do I qualify to be in the program?”