Fact vs. Fiction

Fiction: "The Energy Wise Rewards programmable thermostat will allow Pepco to change my home temperature over the Internet."

Fact: You – and only you – have control of temperature settings. Pepco can only send a radio signal to cycle your A/C compressor during a conservation period. Nothing more.

During the course of a conservation period, the temperature in a typical home may rise 1-3 degrees (50% level), 2-4 degrees (75% level), or 4-7 degrees (100% level). Variables such as home insulation, shaded windows, the addition of ceiling fans, and the amount of home foot traffic are some of the things that can also affect the temperature.

Fiction: "I need an Internet connection to participate in Energy Wise Rewards."

Fact: You only need a central air conditioner or heat pump to participate. Both the outdoor switch and the programmable thermostat receive radio signals to begin a conservation period. This is unrelated to the Internet.

Also, while the Energy Wise Rewards programmable thermostat offers you the ease of communicating with your thermostat through the Internet, all participants can enjoy the savings by scheduling preset temperatures manually.

Fiction: "The Energy Wise Rewards programmable thermostat will interfere with my home's wireless Internet connection."

Fact: You – and only you – have control of your Internet connection. Pepco only sends a unique radio signal to your thermostat to cycle your A/C compressor during a conservation period. It will not interfere with your Internet, your TV, your cellphone, or even your AM/FM radio connection, as all of these devices operate on FCC-licensed frequencies completely different from the frequency Energy Wise Rewards uses.

Fiction: "Energy Wise Rewards actually saves electricity for Pepco during the conservation periods."

Fact: Energy Wise Rewards actually balances the demand for electricity during conservation periods with non-peak periods. Depending on how effectively you maintain the cool air in your space during such periods with proper insulation, shaded windows, lowered lighting, etc., and how much you call on electricity to drive your air conditioning to lower the temperature when a conservation period ends, you may significantly affect your overall energy consumption for the day.

Keep in mind that the primary purpose of the program is to balance the demand for electricity to avert power outages and reduce the need for costly infrastructure additions. Any energy conservation that you can achieve by reducing personal demand will be a much-appreciated bonus.

Fiction: "But you claim that, by joining Energy Wise Rewards, I can save up to 10% on my cooling and heating costs throughout the year."

Fact: The installation of an Energy Wise Rewards programmable thermostat gives you an effective instrument for reducing personal energy demand, provided it is used properly and diligently. It allows for significant reductions in energy use when energy is not needed, and quick increases when it is needed. This will not only create savings for you, but, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, it can also mean energy savings of up to 10% per year for your household. However, if you don't use the thermostat's features to achieve these savings, you won't see this level of savings.

Fiction: "I already have a programmable thermostat, so there's no reason for me to participate in Energy Wise Rewards."

Fact: Everyone's participation contributes to the community. If you already have a programmable thermostat, we can still install an outdoor switch near your A/C unit to receive our radio signal for conservation periods. We can all participate in reducing the risk of future power outages and helping to keep energy costs down.

Fiction: "If I participate in this program, I will use more electricity getting my house back to the setting I like when the conservation period ends (i.e., my A/C will work 'harder')."

Fact: Participating in Energy Wise Rewards will result in less overall energy use by your air conditioning equipment during the day of a conservation period. Yes, your system is likely to operate continuously at its full output once the conservation period is over, until the temperature sensed by the thermostat matches your chosen set point temperature. However, generally when this occurs, the outside air is a bit cooler than during the event. Therefore, the decreased air temperature should allow the unit to operate less strenuously than it would have performed during the hottest period of the day. So, although your system will use more energy immediately after an event than it normally would use at that time of day, your system will have used less energy during the prior hour(s). The difference in energy use between the two periods should result in a net energy savings.

Learn more:

The Pepco Energy Wise Rewards Program
How the Program Works
Your Participation Options