Duke offers free smart thermostat: one catch

Posted at 6:09 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 18:18:27-05

Duke Energy wants to let you control your furnace and A/C from your smartphone, anywhere in the country.

But is there a catch? Possibly.

Control Your Home From Your A/C

Casey Ruschman's new thermostat is her phone.

The Anderson Township mom, who is also a Duke employee, was among the first to let Duke install its new "Hom Energy Manager" program , which lets her adjust the temperature from anywhere.

"So on the way to vacation we can look at the thermostat and change it for that week and bring it down," she said. Coming home, she says, they can turn up the heat an hour before they arrive in the driveway.

It's similar to the "Nest" remote control thermostat, but instead of costing more than a hundred dollars, its free.

Duke's Sally Thelen says they will take care of everything,even installation and setup.

What's the Catch?

But nothing in life is really what's the catch?
There is a small one, but it could be a deal breaker for some people.

By accepting the program you Give Duke the right to take control of your A/C  on hot summer days, just like with its 10 year old Power Manager program.

"We would install a device on your air compressor so that in the very hot summer months, we would have the ability to turn off the air conditioning , up to 10 times during the summer month period," she explained.    

So Duke can shut off your A/C for 15 minutes at a time to save electricity. You agree to that when you accept the thermostat.
Duke, though, is betting most people wont mind that, or the convenience they will get, at no extra charge.

Sorry, Not for Renters

Unfortunately, if you live in an apartment and are excited about this, you cannot sign up.

Due to legal reasons, especially the fact you don't own the building, Duke is unable to offer this to anyone in an apartment or rental home.

Homeowner? If you are interested,contact Duke to learn more, so you don't waste your money.

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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