Free Home Manager can help control energy consumption, reduce bills

By on February 21, 2014

San Antonio has endured some really cold weather this winter. We’ve experienced several days of below freezing weather and my CPS Energy bill is proof of it.  Last year at this time, I used 1200 kilowatt hours — this year it’s more than 1900 kwh!

Check out the chart, below, of my energy consumption history.

2-10-2014 9-29-17 AM

I’m not proud of it — working for CPS Energy, I pride myself on being an energy saver — but this time, it’s not my fault. I blame the weather on this one.

Freezing temperatures mean my central heating system has to work harder to keep me and my family warm. The last thing I want is to hear my wife and kids complain that they’re cold. To keep them comfortable, I keep my thermostat at 70 degrees, then turn it down to 65 when we go to bed.

(I also expect them to wear warm clothing. Don’t come to me and tell you’re cold while wearing a tank top and no shoes! Get dressed!)

Right now our customers are opening their bills to complete shock.  With the extreme low temperatures they’re consuming more energy and their bills are higher than they’re use to seeing.

The arctic-like temperatures are just one factor for bills being high. Combine that with the rate increase of 4.25% that kicked in Feb. 1, an increase in state regulatory fees, and the rising cost of natural gas and you’ve got yourself perhaps one of the highest CPS Energy bills you’ve ever seen.

But there is something you can do.

CPS Energy’s Home Manager system allows you to monitor and control your energy consumption, by programming your thermostat, water heater and pool pump settings from any web enabled device. That means, for example, you can shut off your water heater when you’re out of town, and have it kick back on an hour or two before you come home, or allow the temperature to drop while you’re at work, but be nice and toasty when you get home. You can make changes at anytime, and from anywhere.

CPS Energy customer Jennifer Jasiczek recently tweeted another handy benefit of Home Manager:

Twitter Compliment

Home Manager also works to help stabilize the Texas state grid, which is sometimes at risk of rolling brownouts on the hottest days of the year.  When temperatures are extreme, CPS Energy can call a “conservation event.” That means Home Manager customers allow CPS Energy to remotely turn up or down their thermostats and cycle on and off the water heater & pool pump for a brief period of time.

If the conservation event happens at the wrong time for you, no problem — you can override the event.  The customer is in total control at all times.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s FREE?

Twitter Compliment 2

You can learn more and sign up for Home Manager at our Energy Savers website, which also includes other ways to save, with rebates on things like insulation and more efficient appliances, and free weatherization measures for eligible customers through our Casa Verde program.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Scott Martin on said:

    1900 kw is a lot of juice even for January. In our all electric home we’ve never hit 600 kw in January and that’s with a family of 4 cooking, showing, etc all with electric and no natural gas. If you’re going to pride yourself in being an energy saver surely there are some steps you can take to lower your consumption. Let’s talk about that instead of Home Manager (which doesn’t support highly efficient appliances). Home and behavior modifications are two different things worth looking at and talking about here. If you haven’t done either and you’re using that much energy, I don’t think you can say “It’s not my fault.”

    • Richard N on said:

      I can’t figure out how you never use more than 600kwh. I use on average 500kwh/mo for March thru November. During a cold spell like we’ve had in Jan and Feb, my simple 1500 watt space heater will cause a jump of 20kwh during a one day period when the temp outside is below 38 deg. And I’m only trying to warm a 300 sq ft space. Have you had your meter checked for accuracy?

      • Scott Martin on said:

        Thanks Richard. The key is insulation – foam insulation to be exact. It’s so amazingly effective that the heat doesn’t even need to come on. Our family of four generates enough heat within the house that it doesn’t need any extra heat.

        And yes, part of going through the CPS Energy Savers program means having an independent energy audit both before and after the remodeling work and their estimate is in line with what the new smart meter is showing.

        We’ve actually had to leave windows slightly open when it’s in the 20s to keep the house from getting too hot. Foam is going to be the next big thing!

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