CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sense Home Energy Monitor and app have been updated with a new feature that helps the increasing number of homeowners who have utility plans with rates that vary daily and seasonally. The Time of Use feature notifies users when utility rates change during the day, helping them budget and control utility costs. Alerts also notify users if they exceed their average usage during peak rate periods.
With these alerts, Sense users can schedule their day-to-day activities and household chores during the lowest-cost rate periods. For instance, the Sense app alerts when an On-peak rate begins and tells you when it will end. Instead of running a dishwasher, charging an electric vehicle or washing a load of laundry during those peak rate times, the Sense user can wait for their alert about Off-peak rates and run their appliances when pricing is lower.
Many utilities have started to implement rate structures that adjust pricing throughout the day. Most of these time varying plans offer seasonal rates with lower costs late at night when electricity demand is lower and higher rates during the times of day when demand is higher. For customers on these plans, the challenge is keeping track of when the rates change so they can avoid surprises on their utility bills. The Time of Use (TOU) feature in the Sense app makes it easy to keep track of rates and control their utility bills.
The new feature also helps utility customers figure out which rate plan fits their lifestyle and budget. Sense users who are wondering which TOU rate plan works best for them can simply enter their utility's varying rates into the Sense app and see how those rates would impact billing based on their home's historical energy usage. Users can run multiple rate scenarios to help them choose the best plan.
For Sense users who are on a TOU rate plan currently, this update will increase the accuracy of their budgeting in the Sense app since it realistically models their utility's costs per kWh. With more accurate home energy data, consumers get the most out of their utility plans and save money.
In summary, the Sense app now includes the following Time of Use features:
- Alerts when a new time of use rate period starts
- Notifications when more electricity than normal is used during a peak rate zone
- More accurate billing estimates for Sense users who have a time of use plan
- The ability to compare time of use rate plans in order to determine which would work best.
The Sense app informs utility customers about their time of use plans
There's increasing momentum in the utility industry toward time of use rate plans in order to shift peak loads, meet climate change goals and address the increasing electrification of homes with the adoption of heat pumps, solar power and electric vehicles. Concerns remain, however, about consumer education and the need for technology that helps consumers manage when they use energy.
As these new approaches are rolled out to consumers, it's important that utility customers understand the impact so that TOU rates don't impose financial burdens. Using the new TOU feature in the Sense app, consumers gain a better understanding of exactly how the rates will impact their bills, and the app supports their efforts to shift energy loads away from peak demand times.
Sense Solar and Time of Use
Sense Solar users can take advantage of the Time of Use feature, also. In a recent analysis of home energy data, Sense found that most solar homeowners use less than half of their solar power directly and need to feed the rest back to the grid or invest in battery storage. Sense Solar allows users to track in real time exactly how much of their home's energy is powered by the sun and how much of their solar energy goes back to the grid.
As more utilities move to time varying rates, which typically pay less than retail rates for solar production that's returned to the grid, homeowners can benefit from simple, accurate data about their energy costs and patterns of usage that help them make better decisions about their utility bills. With the addition of the new feature, solar users with time of use plans in states like California and Arizona can better track their utility costs while deciding on the best way to use their solar production. For instance, Time of Use alerts will remind them when utility rates are highest in the middle of the day so they can tap their solar power to charge their electric vehicle or schedule other energy intensive activities.
More than 200 solar providers offer Sense Solar to their customers to provide easy, accessible insights that help them reduce their energy consumption and get the most from their solar investment. Sense Solar customers who save more on their energy bills are happier with their solar investment and recommend their solar provider to friends and family.
Sense's mission is to reduce global carbon emissions by making homes smarter and more efficient. Founded in 2013 by pioneers in speech recognition, Sense uses machine learning technology to provide real-time insights on device behavior, even for those devices that are not "smart." Customers rely on Sense for a wide range of uses including checking what time their kids get home, monitoring their home appliances, determining whether they left appliances running or doors open and identifying how to reduce their energy costs. Sense is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. To make sense of your energy, visit https://sense.com.
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