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Sakonnet National Grid Customers To Be First To Test WiFi Thermostat

Tiverton and Little Compton town councils received the presentation in the last week.

Ever wished you could adjust your home or business thermostat remotely using a smartphone?

Well according to National Grid, more than 100 Tiverton and Little Compton customers will be the first in the state getting that option to participate in a pilot program this summer. National Grid officials say the program, where participants get a WiFi programmable controllable thermostat, will cut gas and electric bills by approximately 7 percent.

"Tiverton and Little Compton are really the first towns to test this out," said Christina Skursky, National Grid project manager in energy services, in a Tuesday morning interview. She's been before the Tiverton and Little Compton town councils recently to pitch the idea. They originally offered it in 2010 going into 2011 in another Newport County town, and it was "extremely" well received.

"We want to see how customers respond," she said about the program. "It's very similar to Apple products, with icons and a touch screen."

Citing predicted increased population growth and a proposed project at the Tiverton substation, Skursky said they selected the Sakonnet towns to get a lot of customers involved with the baseline savings and energy audits. She said they expect the programmable thermostats, during hours of peak demand this summer, will automatically adjust a customer's central air system in order to reduce peak loading and brownout periods.

Customers must have a WiFi connection and central air conditioning to receive the thermostat. The program is aimed to be deployed over the next six years.

Skursky said this program will have an 80 percent-20 percent cost share for residents getting the thermostat, with the customers paying the 20 percent. Business customers will get the 80-20 percent cost share for a lighting option only. She said annual incentives for participation include a $40 bill credit for residents and $160 bill credit for small businesses.

Skursku said the energy credit comes into play during demand response events and if a customer opts out of more than one event, they will not get the bill credit.

National Grid went through several meetings with the State Public Utilities Commission before getting approval in February to approach Tiverton and Little Compton with the proposal, Skursky added. Marketing efforts will begin during the first week of June. She noted that currently, there are no exclusions for summer residents either.

"We're really excited to get this up and going," she said.

For more information, read the attached sheet being sent to area customers, call 1-888-633-7947 or visit www.myngrid.com/energywise.

Clarifications have been made to the original post.

Dan May 23, 2012 at 01:53 AM
People need to become aware of what all this "wireless technology" is and what it does to our health as a human being / living creature for that matter. These are high frequency radio waves aka "mini microwaves". Who here knows what microwave's do to the human body after prolonged exposure? Any takers? Not a good result, I assure you. Though wireless routers are barely all that safe, to have a network of wireless running through miles and miles of neighborhood. That will not be beneficial to anyone's health, that I can promise you!
Jim L May 23, 2012 at 03:11 PM
well since i don't have centrel air i guess i'm out
Dan D May 23, 2012 at 04:52 PM
more unfounded scare concerning wireless. The earth emits these high frequency radio waves all by itself. Adding to the spectrum slightly does nothing at all.

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