News / Ottawa

Smart Grid lets home owners control thermostat remotely

Some Ottawa households may soon be able to connect with their energy system remotely through a mobile smartphone app, web portal and energy "dashboard".

Ontario announced Monday a $2.9 million investment in Ottawa-based Energate Inc., which they say could save users up to 30 per cent on their hydro bills.

During the next year and a half, Energate will install its smart energy thermostat displays in more than 1,000 homes throughout the province, allowing users remotely control their energy systems.

"We want to make it very easy for consumers to engage with the smart grid," said Energate CEO, Niraj Bhargava.

"It allows them to remotely control their thermostat and will make it easy to reduce their energy usage in their AC and pool pump."

Through the new system, users will have the power to remotely monitor their home's energy use by turning on and off appliances and lights, which would help control energy costs.

Pilot projects showed some users were able to translate this control into a 30 per cent reduction on their monthly bill.

Energate is also putting in their own cash towards the 18-month demonstration project, where they hope to prove the technology actually works.

"We are working across North America to get to larger scale deployments of smart grid technology," Bhargava said. "We're collaborating with Hydro Ottawa and through the Peaksaver program the first level of technology is being delivered at no cost to the consumer."

The technology is already in use across the U.S. with Energate serving 20 utility companies.

"Smart grid technologies are the way of the future," said Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley.

"It's like taking our energy infrastructure from rotary phone technology to that of a smartphone."

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