FutureStructure

Evansville, Ind., Utility Launches Free Smart Thermostat Pilot

The program lasts for two years and is available to Vectren residential customers with active electric service and working wireless internet in their home.

by Cole Claybourn, Evansville Courier & Press, Ind. / May 6, 2016

(TNS) -- Vectren is offering a voluntary program that it says will help the company and customers gauge the benefits of WiFi thermostats.

These are thermostats that customer can control remotely and give users a more in-depth look at their energy usage, Vectren spokeswoman Natalie Hedde said.

"The customer engagement is one of the most important things we're looking at," Hedde said. "It's a tool to help customers have more control over their energy use."

It helps Vectren prepare for the future as well, Hedde said.

The program lasts for two years and is available to Vectren residential customers with active electric service and working wireless internet in their home. Participants must also own the residence in which the device would be used, have a qualifying heating and cooling system and can't be enrolled in Vectren's Summer Cycler program.

Participants can receive up to two WiFi thermostats, which Vectren says have a retail value of $250 each, free of charge and with free installation. Participants can keep the unit after the program.

Customers will also receive a $6.25 bill credit for each of the "summer cooling months" — June through September.

"At different times of the summer, we will be studying the benefits and pulling information on what customers learn," Hedde said.

Vectren will also track customers' behavior and how they use energy.

The program will accept up to 2,000 qualified customers. Those not selected initially will be placed on a waiting list.

Hedde said those interested should take a survey and review the program contract, which is available on Vectren's website, vectren.com.

©2016 the Evansville Courier & Press (Evansville, Ind.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.