Summer has officially arrived in the Rio Grande Valley, bringing high temperatures and even higher electricity bills. Most of us have accepted the fact that it costs to stay cool. Others, like the folks at Magic Valley Electric Cooperative, believe it doesn’t have to be that way. Magic Valley is offering its members a way to beat the heat without breaking the bank: their new MyResponseTM energy conservation program.
Magic Valley (or MVEC) is a cooperative, meaning its members are also its owners. If you’re a Magic Valley member with a broadband connection and wireless internet, you’re eligible to sign up for MyResponseTM. What exactly is the program? We talked to Luis Noel Perez, a marketing specialist at Magic Valley, to get the details. “MyResponseTM is a way for our members to save both energy and money,” he explains. “When members sign up for MyResponseTM, we send out a contractor to install a brand-new Ecobee Thermostat (normally valued at $250!) in their homes, all for free. MVEC then sends a remote signal to the thermostat to reduce energy consumptions. Members won’t feel a difference in temperature, but they may see the difference in their bill.”
The “peak hours” issue – what happens when too many people crank their A/C on at the same time – is a state-wide problem. Too much energy demand overloads the state’s electricity grid, which is regulated by a non-profit organization the Electric Reliability Counfil of Texas (ERCOT). When the grid gets overworked, ERCOT initiates rolling blackouts, cutting off electricity to different neighborhoods for short periods of time. “Rolling blackouts are a nuisance,” says Perez. “With “MyResponseTM , we can try to prevent them by lowering overall energy demand.”
MyResponseTM takes a unique approach to reducing electricity demand, not to mention those summer bills. During peak use, an automatic wireless signal is sent to the Ecobee thermostat. That signal instructs the thermostat to cycle the air conditioner’s compressor in short intervals, keeping your house cool but using less electricity. This reduces overall strain on the grid and eliminates the need for rolling blackouts. And those with privacy concerns can rest assured – the signal communicates with the thermostat and nothing else.
Magic Valley Electric Cooperative is always looking to make life easier for its members. That’s why they’re so thrilled to offer this new energy-saving program. So far, over 650 members have signed up to be a part of the solution to this state-wide problem. And why wouldn’t they? MyResponseTM is a win-win situation: better for the environment, better for your bank account, and better for staying cool through another Valley summer.