It’s not difficult to get weather reports these days, with any number of smart phone apps putting the information at your fingertips. So, at first glance, it may not seem like a big deal to have weather data integrated with your home thermostat, as it is with the North American Wiser Air thermostat.
But, as it turns out, the integration of weather data with the thermostat opens up some powerful capabilities for utilities, helping them deepen and improve their relationship with consumers.
“For utilities it’s actually a really powerful tool because homeowners can start seeing how their energy use and the outdoor temperature go together,” says Jenny Roehm, Senior Manager of Utility Residential Solutions for Schneider Electric. “Utilities can start explaining to a customer how they can take better control of their energy use.”
Using detailed weather data, utilities can start educating customers on simple things they can do to use less energy given different types of weather. On hot days when the air conditioner is cranking, make sure you close the shades to reduce the amount of heat getting in from outside. Utilities may even be able to tell which customers could benefit from adding new insulation.
Weather data can also help utilities deal with complaints over high bills, Roehm says, by helping them grasp why a bill might’ve been more than normal. Maybe on a particularly warm day the family had a party, with the door opening and closing repeatedly and lots of people in the house, causing the air conditioning to work harder than normal.
What’s more, the weather data customers get is highly reliable. “Wiser Air uses the Schneider Electric weather service, which has been certified as the most accurate weather provider for the last 8 years in a row,” Roehm says.
Integrated weather data provides another opportunity for utilities to deepen the relationship they have with customers and improve engagement with them.
“Utilities really are on the consumer’s side,” she says. “They really want people to manage their energy. And this is just one more tool that they have at hand to show that they can manage their energy.”