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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
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    4,158

    Thoughts about "smartstats" ?

    We're on a project installing "smartstats" for customers. I'd like to get some feedback to what other HVAC guys thought about the program/thermostat.

    http://www.ogepet.com/programs/smarthours.aspx
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
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    1,697
    I'm not familiar with that brand. I have dealt with Hunter, White-Rogers, Bramec & others.
    My preference is Honeywell for reliability and simplicity.

    Without reading the entire PDF file, the Pioneer stat appears to have numerous features. That can be good and bad. Good for savings and flexibility, but bad if operating it proves too complicated for the customer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
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    17,919
    The question is, "why?"

    If there is a reasonable answer, good.

    Too often, there is a made-up answer based on some type of agenda, such as a power utility being able to interface with the system and override comfort in the name of the saving of energy.

    In the commercial sector, this often results in EMS, or as a store manager once told me, "Everyone Must Suffer."
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    4,158
    Customers can call 877-898-3834 24hrs a day if they have any questions on how to operate their stat. They also get a copy of the owners manual (the same as the PDF link). Most of the owners manual is accessible from the help button on the front of the thermostat. We set the initial programming based on customers preferences when we do the install, they are free to modify it anytime if they choose.

    Basically the stat automatically raises the setting when energy prices go up during peak hours. Customers can opt out at any time if they don't like the program. OG&E will even give the customer a refund if the program hasn't saved them money in the first year. The stat is free to the customer, OG&E pays all the costs including installation. All thermostat related issues are covered for the consumer, if the stat fails it's replaced free of charge.

    OG&E is trying to delay building another power plant to handle the peak loads, this is what they say their motivation is for the program. I have this stat in my own home and have joined the smarthours program. I suspect this is the way programmable stats will be going as smartgrids become more popular.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
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    Quote Originally Posted by 54regcab View Post
    Customers can call 877-898-3834 24hrs a day if they have any questions on how to operate their stat. They also get a copy of the owners manual (the same as the PDF link). Most of the owners manual is accessible from the help button on the front of the thermostat. We set the initial programming based on customers preferences when we do the install, they are free to modify it anytime if they choose.

    Basically the stat automatically raises the setting when energy prices go up during peak hours. Customers can opt out at any time if they don't like the program. OG&E will even give the customer a refund if the program hasn't saved them money in the first year. The stat is free to the customer, OG&E pays all the costs including installation. All thermostat related issues are covered for the consumer, if the stat fails it's replaced free of charge.

    OG&E is trying to delay building another power plant to handle the peak loads, this is what they say their motivation is for the program. I have this stat in my own home and have joined the smarthours program. I suspect this is the way programmable stats will be going as smartgrids become more popular.
    Just as I thought. A way for a utility to bully a customer so they can buy less energy from other power generation companies.

    They hope that people will be too weak-willed or forgetful once the device is installed. PECO has one here.

    I find it interesting how quickly this has changed from a customer service dynamic to a despotic dynamic.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
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    4,158
    The program is 100% voluntary, people do not have to get the stats installed or switch price plans if they don't want to. Customers can switch back to their old price plan at anytime and they can even keep the free thermostat.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL.
    Posts
    4,313
    Kinda looks like the Carrier/Bryant Infinity/Evolution controller.
    WHY?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    South
    Posts
    580
    •Do laundry and run your dishwasher anytime except 2-7 p.m.
    •Cook later in the evenings, or on mornings or weekends.
    •Turn off lights, TVs and computers when not in use.
    •Pre-cool your home before 2 p.m., then turn up the thermostat after 2 p.m.
    •Shut off pool and hot tub pumps during peak hours (without affecting water quality). There's more, too
    Sounds like a huge pain in the ass. If I want to save money by shutting power off to certain things I'll go to the panel and shut it off.

    Who is going to take the service calls for when the ac shuts down on this? Who's going to pay for that?
    May sound stupid but I've been on some calls where the power was off in the whole neighborhood and they couldn't figure out why the ac didn't work.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
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    Quote Originally Posted by 54regcab View Post
    The program is 100% voluntary, people do not have to get the stats installed or switch price plans if they don't want to. Customers can switch back to their old price plan at anytime and they can even keep the free thermostat.

    Yep.

    It's "100% voluntary."

    They offer you x $ off your bill to sign up. Is there a cost to get out? Good question. I'll bet you have to stay on the program for a set number of months to keep that change they offer at the front end.

    It really is a "Big Brother" kind of thing. Who would imagine a public utility could tell a customer "you don't get AC right now."
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
    Posts
    14,914
    One of the retail electric providers in Texas offers an internet controllable thermostat, with online programing, usage graphs, etc., for $75 installed.
    Buried in the fine print, and not mentioned in ANY of the marketing materials they mail out to their customers, is that they will turn the AC off for "no more than 15 minutes every 4 hours" during peak electrical demand.
    They seem to sometimes mess up and shut people off for an hour or more at a time...

    The kicker is, there is no discount on the electric rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by truck12 View Post
    Who is going to take the service calls for when the ac shuts down on this? Who's going to pay for that?
    In the last few years I've run at least a couple of dozen service calls related to the load shedding.
    Usually everything is running fine when I get there, but a couple of times I get there and the red LED on the front of the thermostat is lit, indicating the tstat got the signal from the utility company to shut the AC off, but the customer didn't know what it means.
    I find that the utility, and the person who installed the thermostat, failed to properly inform them about the load shedding "feature", and the customer never bothered to actually read the document they signed, or the instructions for the f'in thermostat...
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    4,158
    Hopefully our customers call the 24hr 877 number that's right on the thermostat if they have any questions. Service calls that come from the 877 number are free to the customer. Thermostat related problems are fixed free of charge. If the problem is not related to the thermostat the customer has to pay for repairs.

    OG&E's thermostat also has the lights for when the temperature is turned up (OG&E does not turn off systems) as well as a message on the screen indicating the load event is occurring.

    It seems that HOW a "smartstat program" is implemented is VERY important, and will determine if the program makes it or not. OG&E customers can switch back to the fixed price plan at any time at no charge. I suspect OG&E will do it right at least for the 1st summer of it's widespread release since they won't want bad publicity on the program. OG&E offered the program last summer on a limited basis and it was successful. Last summer I saved $100 for the 2 months ($50 each month) I was on the program.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    33,918
    We have LOTS of customers with load shed boxes connected to their outdoor units. Does cause a few no-cool calls when people forget they are there and call when the unit is off.

    Not sure I'd call these load reduction methods bullying the customer. It is voluntary here anyway, people save a few bucks each summer. If they don't want it and I don't, we/I don't have to have one. If it keeps the utility from buying expensive juice from the grid or building a new plant, it keeps my rates lower.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
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    I guess I'm just old school. I think the person paying for the service should determine when that service is to be used.

    When it is a quasi-government entity making that decision, it starts to smell like totalitarianism.

    Sort of like the EPA. Or IRS. Or FICA. Or.......................
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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