Looking for a cool way to save $50 a year on electricity costs without having to do much of anything at all on your part? Google Nest has you covered if you live in an area of California that's serviced by Pacific Gas & Electric, thanks to a new partnership with Leap.
Here's the short of it: Google Nest runs a program called Rush Hour Rewards, which rewards users with monetary incentives when they lower their power consumption during peak usage hours. Lately, that would be during a heatwave when everyone and their dog are sweating their butts off and trying to constantly lower the thermostat to get some relief. Lots of households pulling lots of power means the power company has to figure out some way to meet demand, and the most immediate solutions tend to be costly.
Oftentimes, to meet demand, power companies will run auxiliary power plants that cost quite a bit of money just to keep going for a few days, so if they can avoid turning to this expensive solution, you'd better believe they'll try it. Leap is the latest Google Nest Rush Hour Rewards partner and plays its part by helping determine how much energy is needed and how to best reduce the energy load for the power company. Once that's decided, Google Nest steps in and flips the switch to put thermostats into Rush Hour status.
This program isn't automated though, and it won't happen automatically just because you have a Nest thermostat. First off, you'll need to be in an area where Rush Hour Rewards are offered. You can do that by visiting Google Nest's Rebates and Rewards page to find out if Google Nest has a partnership with your local utility company. Mine, unfortunately, does not have any such programs.
Leap's particular program will give customers a free Nest Home Hub, and other programs might even qualify some customers for other free devices or incentives as well.
Leap already has a 45-megawatt contract with Pacific Gas & Electric and is using the new agreement with Google Nest to better fulfill the contract needs and requirements. It's also citing that over 2,500 customers with Nest thermostats are enrolled in the program and account for approximately 2.5 megawatts of saved energy as a whole. That's a fair amount less than the 45 megawatts promised to save for PG&E, so Leap is going the extra mile to make sure customers sign up.
California's Pacific Gas & Electric isn't the only power company in the country to take part in this kind of rewards program, and if this new partnership with Leap is any indication, isn't the last either. While it's still in California, Southern California Edison also features partnerships that work with Google Nest's Rush Hour Rewards program, too.
This isn't the first time Google Nest has given away products lately, but it's a partnership that's a little less philanthropic than some other ventures. Google Nest has been working to provide customers with a more 'helpful home' rather than just a boring old 'smart home', and these types of programs certainly help fit that bill.