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Homeowners Handing Over Control Of Thermostat To Lower Bills

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FRISCO (CBS11) -  More than a thousand North Texas homeowners are giving up a little personal power to save electrical power.

CoServ Electric, which services most homes in Frisco as well as homes in parts of six North Texas counties, has started a new high-tech program aimed at lowering energy usage a peak times during the summer.

More than 1,200 homeowners have already registered for what's known as the "Rush Hour" program.

By signing up, homeowners are giving CoServ access and permission to raise the temperature in their homes, usually by just a couple of degrees, up to four times a month.

With a WiFi-connected Nest thermostat, CoServ can do this remotely from its headquarters in Corinth.

"We initiate the call and the Nest algorithms run in the thermostat and determine what to set the temperature at," explained CoServ Energy Engineer Dustin Brown.

Brown said how much CoServ pays for energy largely depend on the company's energy load during peak summer hours.

"So if we can get enough people to enroll in this program and save in our peak times, we will overall drop the cost of power," said Brown.

Brown said that would save all members money on their bills.

However, with the program just starting in May, CoServ said it's too early to know how much that savings will be.

To entice members to sign up, CoServ is offering $100 for every Nest thermostat purchased (Nest thermostats currently costs $199) and another $40 when a member enrolls in the program.

Julie Wesley of Aubrey said she had no hesitation signing up for the program.

"It doesn't bother me to give them control," she said. "They can only access my thermostat. It's not like they can turn my microwave off."

CoServ said members who sign up can override the temperature increases by simply adjusting their thermostat.

However the energy company is hoping most will not even notice the change in temperature.

For more information on the new program, click here.

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