GVEC and Rush Hour Rewards: Peak Time Payback

As GVEC’s latest peak time rewards program, Rush Hour Rewards is designed to reduce the overall load on the Cooperative’s electric grid when usage tends to be at its highest. You’re eligible for this program if you have a Nest® thermostat connected to your HVAC system. If you don’t have a Nest installed, but would like to participate, GVEC sells two Nest models, both of which are compatible with Rush Hour Rewards. Plus, when you purchase a Nest through GVEC and sign up for this program, you’ll get special savings on both the thermostat and on installation!

Undecided about Rush Hour Rewards?

Wondering if Rush Hour Rewards is worth it? If you’re still on the fence about participating or whether it’s worth investing in a new Nest, here are six benefits Rush Hour Rewards provides.

1. Rush Hour Rewards Saves You on Utility Costs

One of Rush Hour Reward’s most appealing incentives is the chance to save on your electricity bills. Who doesn’t like saving money? Program participants receive a one-time $85 bill credit just by signing up for Rush Hour Rewards and another $30 bill credit each year they’re enrolled between June and September. That’s $115 in savings right from the start!

2. Your Nest Thermostat Will Pay for Itself

If you don’t already have a Nest Learning Thermostat® or a Nest Thermostat E® connected to your system, those initial savings, combined with discounts from GVEC for the device itself and for installation, means much of the cost of upgrading to a Nest will be instantly paid for. Plus, the Nest will help you save over the long haul on the cost of heating and cooling your home, too. On average, Nest users save between 10 and 12 percent on heating and around 15 percent on cooling costs. More, studies by Nest suggest that savings on monthly electric bills can reach as high as 15-20 percent!

A Nest, then, pays for itself over time, and GVEC will contribute a significant upfront chunk when you sign up for Rush Hour Rewards with your purchase.

3. Rush Hour Rewards and Nest Help Keep Temperatures Stable, Constant

After installation, a Nest connects to the internet through your home Wi-Fi. That’s
when the magic begins.

The first few days with your Nest might be considered the “getting-to-know-you” period. Every time you change the temperature, the Nest tracks it. Whether you’re adjusting a few degrees before bed and a few more after waking up, or setting your Nest for an empty house while everyone’s at work or school, the thermostat is learning and creating a schedule. It then begins making automatic adjustments based on your habits. When you sign up for Rush Hour Rewards with your Nest, “Rush Hours” become part of the thermostat’s normal schedule.

What are Rush Hours?

Every day from June through September, between 3 and 6 p.m., usage on the statewide grids tends to spike. This is when people are coming home from work and school and are turning on their TVs, turning down their air conditioners, starting to make dinner and doing other things that spike the demand for electricity. This situation is similar to what happens on public roads during the same timeframe—hence the name “Rush Hour.”

Our state’s independent electric-system operator—ERCOT—uses these high-usage times to help determine the rate it will charge electricity suppliers like GVEC for Generation and Transmission (G&T) costs the next year. ERCOT’s formula is simple: The higher the amount of usage on a supplier’s grid during peak-usage times, the more that supplier and, by extension, its members or customers pay. By doing their part to keep usage low during these high-demand times, Rush Hour Rewards participants help keep G&T rates stable for all GVEC members.

How Do Rush Hours Work?

The Nest Thermostat notifies Rush Hour participants in advance of an impending Rush Hour (participants can also receive notification on their smartphones from an associated app). Each Rush Hour event involves a “precooling” phase, the Rush Hour itself and an “after” phase, when the thermostat returns to its regular routine. Because each Rush Hour involves a precooling phase, participants shouldn’t notice a big change in temperatures during the actual event.

4. Rush Hour Rewards and Nest for Greater Energy Efficiency

When residents of Gonzalez and the surrounding areas in south-central Texas turn to GVEC to purchase and install a Nest thermostat, the device quickly helps reduce the home’s energy use. Plus, for most participants, the thermostat’s automatic adjustments during Rush Hours will mean their homes end up using less energy overall than they otherwise would during these times.

5. Help Reduce Power Outages with Rush Hour Rewards

The more members who take part in Rush Hour Rewards, the smaller the strain on GVEC’s power grid. This fact helps reduce the likelihood of power outages during summer heat waves.

6. Protect the Environment

Many power suppliers use clean energy sources as part of their overall portfolio—solar and wind being the two most prominent these days. However, when a sudden demand for electricity occurs, suppliers must often turn to more traditional forms of generation—i.e., coal and other fossil fuels—to have enough power. By lessening the load during peak times, Rush Hour Rewards helps reduce the possibility that additional fossil fuel generation sources will be brought online to cover spiking demand. This represents a win for consumers, who benefit from stabilized electricity rates, and a win for the environment.

Contact GVEC Home

Are you interested in learning more about improving your home’s indoor air quality? GVEC provides reliable and trustworthy services for a variety of air conditioning and heating systems. Contact us today at 877.518.8689 to set up an appointment or visit gvecacservice.com!

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