FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW DOES ENERGY WISE REWARDS FOR BUSINESS WORK?
When you enroll, we’ll install your choice of an Energy Wise Rewards web-programmable thermostat or an outdoor switch near your central air conditioning unit or heat pump, in each facility. On selected Peak Savings Days from June through October, we’ll automatically cycle off and on participating central air conditioners and heat pumps for short periods to help balance the region’s demand for electricity. These events are known as conservation periods. In turn, you will receive an Installation Credit and Energy Wise Rewards Bill Credits for your participation.
WHAT IS “CYCLING”?
Cycling is how Pepco manages times of peak energy demand. When a conservation period is called, your device will receive a radio signal that will put your cooling unit’s compressor into a conservation mode, during which it will operate half the time it did during the hour prior to the conservation period. The fan will continue to circulate air even though the compressor has a reduced operating time.
WILL I RECEIVE ALL OF THE ENERGY WISE REWARDS BILL CREDITS IN THE SAME CALENDAR YEAR?
In order to receive all available credits in a calendar year, your device must be installed prior to your June bill. Although Pepco cannot guarantee when your installation will occur, if you enroll and schedule your appointment prior to March 30, the device is likely to be installed prior to your June bill (even if you receive your bill early in June).
ARE THERE ANY HIDDEN COSTS OR FEES WITH THIS PROGRAM?
No. Participation is totally voluntary and the devices and installation service are at no charge to you.
MAY I SWITCH MY DEVICE TYPE?
Yes. Energy Wise Rewards has been designed to meet your changing needs. Contact the Energy Wise Rewards Service Center at 1-866-353-5798 to request and schedule a device change.
HOW MANY CONSERVATION PERIODS CAN I EXPECT PER YEAR?
The number of conservation periods depends on many factors, including weather, peak electricity demand, and wholesale energy costs. Energy Wise Rewards is only activated during times of high electricity demand, emergency conditions, or system testing. As such, there may be as few as one or two Peak Savings Days or as many as a dozen. In a typical year, one can expect five or less events.
WHEN AND FOR HOW LONG WILL A CONSERVATION PERIOD LAST?
Peak Savings Days conservation periods typically occur on weekday afternoons and can last anywhere from three to six hours.
Keep in mind that the duration of conservation periods may be reduced as the number of Energy Wise Rewards participants increases. This requires a community-wide effort, so spread the word and share the load.
If a Priority Peak Day is called by PJM (the Regional Transmission Operator for the Mid-Atlantic) for reliability reasons, it will last until the situation is resolved. Therefore, Pepco cannot state how long an event of this type may last.
WILL ENERGY WISE REWARDS AFFECT MY COMFORT LEVEL?
You may or may not notice that an Energy Wise Rewards conservation period is even occurring. During the course of a conservation period, the temperature in a business may rise 1 to 3 degrees. Variables such as insulation, shaded windows, the use of ceiling fans, and the amount of foot traffic can also affect the temperature.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN AN ENERGY WISE REWARDS CONSERVATION PERIOD IS OCCURRING?
Check your web-programmable thermostat. When a conservation period occurs, the LED will glow red and the display will read “Event in Progress” at the top of the screen. The center of the control arrows will maintain a steady light for the duration of the period.
If you have an outdoor switch, you will need to go outside to inspect the device. A red LED will appear in the window of the outdoor switch throughout the conservation period.
CAN AN EMERGENCY EVENT, OR PRIORITY PEAK DAY, OCCUR OUTSIDE OF THE MONTHS OF THE COOLING SEASON?
Yes. This could occur, and in that event you would be required to participate per the Program Rules and the Customer Agreement. Essentially, Energy Wise Rewards program participants cannot opt out of Priority Peak Day conservation periods.
AM I PERMITTED TO OPT OUT OF A CONSERVATION PERIOD?
All customers are permitted two (2) opt outs from non-Priority Peak Days during the cooling season. Participants who wish to opt out will need to call our Energy Wise Rewards Service Center at 1-866-353-5798.
HOW DOES ENERGY WISE REWARDS BENEFIT MY COMMUNITY?
Pepco customers use more electricity during the summer season than at other times of the year. As the area grows and more new and existing customers install central air conditioners, demand for electricity increases each summer, putting a strain on the power system. Participating in Energy Wise Rewards helps all of us to avoid paying for the construction of new power plants to operate only during times of very high electricity demand for a few hours per year.
HOW DOES ENERGY WISE REWARDS HELP MARYLAND?
Energy Wise Rewards is part of the EmPOWER Maryland initiative (http://energy.maryland.gov/pages/facts/empower.aspx) to reduce energy consumption by 15% by the year 2015. Information about other Pepco energy saving programs can be found at www.pepco.com/saveenergy.
HOW DOES ENERGY WISE REWARDS KEEP ENERGY RATES LOW?
Demand for electricity in our area is rapidly rising. During the peak demand times of summer, Energy Wise Rewards works to reduce electricity usage by cycling central air conditioners throughout the region, averting power outages. This reduces the need to build costly, new power plants that can drive up rates, and reduces the amount of fossil fuel bought and burned to generate power to satisfy demand.
HOW DOES ENERGY WISE REWARDS HELP THE ENVIRONMENT?
By reducing electricity demand during a conservation period, Energy Wise Rewards avoids the need to produce additional electricity. When load is highest and supplies are strained, the least efficient power plants must be brought into operation to meet demand or outages become likely. Many of these plants are powered by fossil fuels. Reducing the use of fossil fuels reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy Wise Rewards approach also reduces the urgency in building additional power plants and stations, thereby preserving our natural environment.
ABOUT YOUR THERMOSTAT INSTALLATION
WHAT IF THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH MY EXISTING EQUIPMENT?
Once the technician is onsite, he or she may determine that your air conditioning system either (a) has a problem that prevents installation without repairs being done first, or (b) is not compatible with the equipment being installed. Should this happen, the technician will inform you of the findings and your options.
HOW CAN MY PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT SAVE 10% ANNUALLY ON MY COOLING AND HEATING COSTS?
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has studied the energy saving benefits of programmable thermostats. According to DOE, depending on usage patterns and how effectively you program the thermostat, it is possible to save as much as 10% on cooling and heating costs. This assumes the programmable thermostat is set back in the winter and set ahead in the summer during times the business is empty.
WHAT BUSINESSES AND EQUIPMENT QUALIFY FOR THE ENERGY WISE REWARDS PROGRAM?
To qualify for Energy Wise Rewards, your facility must have either a central air conditioning unit or heat pump in good operating condition. Businesses, community organizations, government and municipal offices, retailers, schools, restaurants, and congregations are eligible to participate, even if the organization does not receive an electric bill directly from Pepco.
The following equipment do not qualify for Energy Wise Rewards and are therefore unable to receive an energy saving device:
- Geothermal heat pumps (also known as GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps)
- Evaporative coolers (also known as swamp, desert, or air coolers)
- Thermostats controlled by business alarm or business automation systems
If you have any questions about whether or not your facility qualifies, please contact us prior to enrollment at 1-866-353-5798.