A brand-new year is upon us, and just as many of our members might, we at Magic Valley Electric Cooperative have a few resolutions. In our ongoing quest to provide reliable electric service and responsive and timely customer service, we are also looking for ways to provide various energy solutions for our diverse membership.
For decades, Magic Valley has provided members with relevant programs, face-to-face assistance and educational resources to help them take greater control of their energy usage, and the tools are only getting better with new technology.
Last year, during MVEC’s Annual Meeting, I reported to you that we were exploring a potential partnership with the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, or NRTC, to provide Nest thermostats at a discounted price to members willing to participate in our demand response program.
I am pleased to announce that we have decided to move forward with this partnership because we felt it would be of great benefit to our members, and to the cooperative. Through this partnership, Magic Valley will be able to help our members save energy and get paid in the process.
The new program will be known as MVEC Rush Hour Rewards.
Here’s how it works:
In our region of South Texas, heating and air conditioning units use more electricity than any other appliance in our homes—around 1.5 kW per hour or approximately 50 percent of your electric bill. Many of you may have heard of, or may already own, a Nest Thermostat. These Wi-Fi enabled devices were specifically designed to learn your heating and cooling patterns and help you save electricity while you are away from home. According to Nest, these thermostats have the ability to cut your electric bill by 15 to 20 percent during the summer months.
With your agreement, MVEC Rush Hour Rewards will harness these Nest thermostats in order to lower MVEC’s wholesale power costs. During summer months when MVEC is nearing an energy peak, MVEC will issue instructions to these Nest devices, which will pre-cool your home by lowering the temperature setting during the hours leading up to the Rush Hour event. Then, the temperature setting will be raised on the thermostat at the time of the event, shutting off your unit during the ERCOT peak demand period. By pre-cooling your home, the temperature will remain at a comfortable level throughout the peak event, even though the unit will not be running. Because the unit will not be running during the ERCOT peak event, MVEC’s demand will be lowered, thereby lowering MVEC’s overall wholesale cost. By keeping our wholesale costs down, we will be able to continue to offer affordable rates to our members.
If you get too hot, don’t worry, these beautifully engineered Nest thermostats still allow you to be in control. You can always turn your thermostats back to your desired temperature to stay comfortable.
This energy-saving practice will be in effect between 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. You will only get one rush hour event a day, and there will never be more than 3 rush hour events in a week. Also, there will be a maximum of 36 rush hour events each summer, and each event will be no longer than 2 hours. The program will run from June through September each year, however you can register for the program at any time of the year.
Save up to $150 on a new Nest thermostat
For those of you who don’t already own a Nest thermostat but are interested in earning the incentive while also saving money on your electric bill each month, you can purchase the Nest learning thermostats by visiting our website at magicvalley.coop/rush-hour-rewards.
How do I get paid?
Members who sign up for the MVEC Rush Rewards Program will receive a one-time $50 bill credit, one per household, for enrolling in the program. For each additional year that members participate in the MVEC Rush Hour Rewards program, they will receive a $25 annual participation credit, one per household, on their electric bill 30 days after September 30th.
For more information on how you can enroll in this program, visit magicvalley.coop/rush-hour-rewards or call us at 866-225-5683. We’re committed to providing reliable energy and resources to empower our members to maximize savings and minimize their energy bill. I encourage each of you to take advantage of this new program. It can help you lower your electric bill each month, and you’ll also get paid just for participating.