ComEd's Central AC Cycling Program

What is the Central AC Cycling program?

You can help to reduce electricity demand – and earn automatic credits on your bill – by signing up for ComEd’s Central Air Conditioning Cycling Program (AC Cycling).

During the summer months, demand for electricity is high, and “peak” times can strain the grid. To help better manage our energy resources, ComEd will give homeowners with central air conditioning a monthly credit on their bills from June through September. Depending on which option you choose, you can earn $5 to $10 a month, or $20 to $40 total.

If you enroll in the program, you would authorize ComEd to send signals to your home to “cycle” the flow of power to the cooling unit (i.e. to turn the cooling on and off) at peak times of energy usage across ComEd territory.

Cycling is only done when needed, and it will occur on specific days for limited periods of time. Many program participants have noted that they haven’t even noticed a difference in their homes during cycling events.

This program can make a big difference by reducing electricity demand on hot summer days. By participating, you can help prevent power outages, lower rates, and improve the environment.

To Sign Up for Central AC Cycling:

Visit or call 1-800-986-0070.

How does it work?

There are a few ways to participate in AC Cycling. The most common is through a direct load control (DLC) switch, which a ComEd representative would install either on the side of your home or directly on the air conditioner’s compressor panel.

The DLC switch allows ComEd to remotely cycle the compressor off and on during a cycling event. Only the compressor gets cycled off. The fan will continue to circulate already cooled air.

With the DLC switch, customers can either choose the 50 Percent ($5/month or $20/year) or 100 Percent option ($10/month or $40/year). Most people would benefit from the 100 Percent option, as that is the better credit. However, if someone in your household is home during most of the day or has a medical condition, the 100 percent option is not recommended.

If you have multiple central units, the device must be installed on each unit for you to receive the credit (either $5 or $10 a month, depending on which option you choose).

Typically, you will be notified before your air conditioner is cycled—the only exception is an extreme case (i.e. unforeseen high electricity demand) where there isn’t enough time to alert customers before a cycling event.

Your credit will appear in the “Taxes & Fees” section of your bill, under the heading “AC Interruption Option Credit.”

What is Rush Hour Rewards?

If you own a Nest Smart Thermostat, instead of the DLC switch option, you can enroll in “Rush Hour Rewards,” which allows ComEd to control your thermostat during peak hours through your home WiFi. With this option, you are credited $10/month ($40/year).

Nest is the only brand of smart thermostat currently authorized for this ComEd program, but other thermostat brands might be authorized in the future.

To enroll in Rush Hour Rewards, visit

Rush Hour Rewards customers are not eligible for ComEd’s Load Guard Program (see later section).

Who is eligible for Central AC Cycling?

You must have central air conditioning and you must own your home.

If you have an alternative electric supplier, you are still eligible to sign up for Central AC Cycling.

Central AC Cycling participants are not eligible for the Peak Time Savings program, but are eligible for Hourly Pricing. (CUB has separate fact sheets on these programs, if you’d like more information).

When can I sign up?

You can sign up at any time. The period in which you receive credits is June 1st through September 30th, so it’s recommended you sign up before June. If you sign up within the summer months, you will still receive credits—prorated for the month in which you signed up, and full credits thereafter.

What is “Load Guard”?

Load Guard is a free, optional program that runs from May 1 to Sept. 30 for AC Cycling customers who also participate in the Hourly Pricing Program.

Customers enrolled in Hourly Pricing pay an electricity rate that can change by the hour, based on the wholesale electricity market.

“Load Guard” participants can have their air conditioners cycled on and off during periods of high prices. You can choose to enter into this “conservation mode” when power prices hit either 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) or 14 cents per kWh.

Once you enroll in Load Guard, you can change your price levels, and you can even choose not to activate the program for the next day.

When your AC is cycled on and off, the fan stays on so Load Guard isn’t expected to change a home’s temperature dramatically—maybe as little as 1-3 degrees.

Nest Rush Hour Rewards customers are not eligible for Load Guard.

Where can I learn more?

For a list of frequently asked questions, visit:

For additional questions, you can email or call ComEd’s support line (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) at 630-437-3195.

Device Options

DLC Switch: 100% Option

Time Any day of the week (from June 1 – September 30), between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Unit Cycles Off Up to 10 hours for a full air conditioning interruption, (i.e. turns air conditioner off), or can be cycled for up to 10 hours like the 50% cycling option at ComEd’s discretion
Bill Credit $10 credit per month, per household, June 1 through September 30 ($40 per year)


DLC Switch: 50% Option

Time Any day of the week (from June 1 – September 30), between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Unit Cycles Off Maximum of 15 minutes every half hour, for up to 10 hours (if needed)
Bill Credit $5 credit per month, per household, June 1 through September 30 ($20 per year)


Nest Thermostat (Rush Hour Rewards)

Time Any day of the week (from June 1 – September 30), between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Unit Cycles Off Up to one continuous 10-hour period during any day (if needed)
Bill Credit $10 per month, per household, June 1 through September 30 ($40 per year)