Recently, EEI featured Powerley utility customers’ success stories, focusing on commercializing smart home energy management. The first and only smart home energy management provider, Powerley is transforming the energy industry – helping utilities access new opportunities. Doing a deep-dive into the programs, EEI tunes-in to how DTE Energy and AEP Ohio are driving higher customer engagement and increasing energy savings.
In 2017, AEP Ohio turned to Powerley to launch a real-time energy experience. AEP Ohio began a targeted rollout of its ‘It’s Your Power’ app to 65,000 select residential customers (single-family homeowners with a smart meter installed). The app has been downloaded by 67,000 AEP Ohio customers to date, including more than 40,000 households with smart meters. AEP Ohio is providing the Powerley Energy Bridge at no cost to qualifying customers. So far, 10,460 customers have installed the Energy Bridge, of which more than 3,000 have installed a Powerley smart thermostat.
At the end of 2018, AEP Ohio began actively marketing It’s Your Power to 500,000 residential customers who have smart meters installed. By mid-2019, 750,000 households and small businesses are expected to have smart meters, and the It’s Your Power app, the Energy Bridge, and Powerley smart thermostat will be available to all of them.
AEP Ohio customers can use the app and Energy Bridge to set an energy budget for their homes by energy use or dollar amount. Options include “lower my use,” “maintain my use,” or “set a custom target.” AEP Ohio also is using the It’s Your Power app to enroll customers in a new demand response pilot.
In the future, AEP Ohio plans to expand and target enrollment of It’s Your Power to focus on congested distribution circuits. In addition, in the near future, AEP Ohio has plans to help customers manage electric vehicle charging via the Energy Bridge.
DTE Energy launched the DTE Insight home energy management app in partnership with Powerley in 2013. DTE customers have downloaded the app more than 400,000 times, and more than 175,000 unique customers are using the Insight app.
DTE customers also can request an Energy Bridge, which automatically connects to a home’s smart meter and allows the Insight app to monitor and control—in realtime—all the smart and connected devices in the home. The Insight app, combined with the Energy Bridge, delivers device-level usage data to customers with 99.8 percent accuracy.
For example, the Insight app combined with the Energy Bridge provides customers device-level visualization of energy use, displaying in real-time the amount of energy (in watts) a customer’s HVAC system is using; an aggregate of “always-on” load; and the energy use of any device plugged in with a smart plug. Customers can access and adjust a connected thermostat and control (turn on or off) other connected devices. The Insight app continuously analyzes customers’ historical use data and compares it to realtime data so that customers can track usage over time and adjust their use to save energy and money.
The Insight app is a powerful customer engagement tool. It generates, and DTE can send through it, a variety of push notifications to customers, such as high bill alerts, energy product or services recommendations, or even whether a coffee maker was left “on” or a refrigerator door left ajar. The Insight app is so accurate that it can detect appliance degradation, serving as an appliance health monitoring service, and recommend repairs or replacement.
Customers who regularly use the Insight app save energy. Based on 2017 data, energy savings for 25,000 customers who logged five or more app sessions over five or more days during the year averaged 2.29 percent using just the app, and an additional 5.68 percent when also using the Energy Bridge, totaling approximately 8 percent energy savings on average. This energy savings amounted to nearly 21,000 megawatt-hours of electricity in 2017. The Insight app is part of DTE’s residential behavioral energy efficiency programs.