Dominion Power pays customers to control A.C.

By Nicole Bell - bio | email | facebook
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Dominion Virginia Power is offering customers cash for allowing the company to control your air-conditioning system when demand is high. It's part of a new program in the Richmond metro-area. It's called Smart Cooling Rewards.

Dominion says you'll be helping your wallet and the environment. If you enroll in the program Dominion Power will install a smart switch on the outside of your home. The device allows the company to turn your air conditioner off and on.

When the temperature rises Courtney Rapanick's air conditioner kicks into high gear.

"It gets really stuffy in our house because it's old so we usually crank up our A.C. a lot," said Rapanick.

To help ease the pressure on its electrical system during the hottest days of the year Dominion is encouraging customers to take part in Smart Cooling Rewards.

"By using the program we reduce the need to import electricity during the most expensive times which are usually the peak summer days," said program manager, Tom Jewel.

During periods of high demand,  that's usually when temperatures hit the 90 degree mark, the smart switch will kick-in and cycle your system on and off for 15 minutes at a time.

"Most people won't notice a change in temperature because the cooled air in the house continues to circulate," said Jewel.

Those who sign up will get $40 for each year they're in the program.

"We allow people to call up and exempt themselves from a cycle twice a year and they still get the $40 incentive," said Jewel.

Avis Kennedy says the program sounds interesting -- but doubts she'll enroll.

"I think I'll do what I've been doing. When I get too hot I'll cut it down and when it gets too cool I'll let it up," said Kennedy.

Although the program is new to the Richmond metro area -- Dominion says more than 16,000 customers have allowed the company to install a smart switch.

The device will only kick-in on weekdays between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The program is free to join.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.