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A “smart” way to save money

20151008_SmartThermostatSmart thermostats—devices that allow you to remotely control your temperature settings from your smart phone, tablet, or home computer— are a great way to save energy and money on your utility bills. Now, consumer advocates hope to see these innovative devices installed in one million homes with the help of special utility discounts to make them more affordable and accessible to customers across Northern Illinois.

The smart thermostat initiative, a partnership between the utilities and advocacy groups, is the largest effort of its kind in the nation. It makes ecobee and Nest thermostats eligible for up to $120 in rebates for customers with WiFi, central air and a furnace. The rebates nearly halve the cost of the devices, which normally retail for $249.


“If we put those pieces of the puzzle together, Illinois will be a world leader in smart technology and energy innovation,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said.

CUB joined with the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), ComEd, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Nicor Gas, and manufacturers ecobee and Nest Labs to announce the rebates Thursday.  Also in attendance were special guests, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy and Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) Chairman Brien Sheahan.

“Smart technology is making it possible to give consumers  more control over  their energy costs than ever before, and today we’re demonstrating our commitment to help them capitalize on these opportunities,” Executive Director David Kolata said at Thursday’s launch.


U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was on hand to applaud the initiative

Wi-Fi-connected smart thermostats allow customers to finely tune and monitor energy use from the convenience of their phone, tablet or home computer. The technology “learns” user behavior over time to optimize comfort and generate energy savings automatically.

Eligible ComEd customers who seek the rebate must purchase the Nest or ecobee thermostat between Oct. 5, 2015 and May 31, 2016, install the thermostat on compatible central air conditioner, heat pump, or electric heating system (thermostats installed by contractors are eligible for a different rebate), and then submit an application.  Rebate checks should be received by customers within six weeks.

CUB's Laura Goldberg investigates the new devices

CUB’s Laura Goldberg investigates one of the new devices

Visit the following websites for more information:

UPDATE: Check out the news coverage the launch received…