Program Questions

Q: What is Connect to Save?
A: Connect to Save is a program initially offered by four of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives to help its residential members use energy smarter and more efficiently—without sacrificing comfort. The goal is to lessen demand on the grid, which helps the environment and keeps energy costs low. Using your smart thermostat, and optional water heater device, Connect to Save will automatically manage your energy use on select days (or “events”) when electric demand is high, or nearing peak demand. It’s that easy, and most members don’t even notice a difference.

Q: What is peak demand and why does it occur?
A: Just like roads at rush hour, the electric grid experiences moments of high traffic, or demand. Energy use changes constantly due to weather conditions, residential changes throughout the day, and operations of commercial and industrial companies. Following the principles of supply and demand, electricity is most expensive when demand is greatest.

Event Questions

Q: What happens during an event?
A: On certain days when demand on the grid is high, Connect to Save will call an “event” and manage your heating and cooling by changing the setpoint by up to three degrees. To ensure your comfort, we may cool or heat your home in advance of an event when energy demand is lower. Doing this helps keep you comfortable during the event. In fact, many members don’t even notice a difference.

Q: Prior to an event, how far in advance will my home be preconditioned?
A: For Google® Nest thermostats, preconditioning begins one hour prior to the event. For ecobee thermostats, there is no preset time for preconditioning. It is dependent on the home, weather conditions  and other factors.

Q: When could an event occur and how often?
A: Events can occur throughout the year. Typically, events in winter are called between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Events in the summer are typically called between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Up to 48 events can be called each year with a minimum of one event per month, and each event may last up to four hours. Events can be called up to three consecutive days.

Q: How do I know when an event is occurring?
A: Connect to Save will send you emails notifying you that an event is planned for your smart thermostat that day, and when the event will begin and end. If you have a Google® Nest smart thermostat, your device and mobile app will display “energy rush hour” during the event.

Q: How warm or cool will my house get during events?
A: Connect to Save will adjust the current setpoint of the thermostat by no more than three degrees.

Q: Can I adjust my thermostat during events?

A: If you wish to opt out of an event, you may change the temperature on your thermostat at any time. However, in order to remain enrolled and eligible for the program’s monetary incentive, you may not opt out of more than five events in a calendar year.

Q: How do I sign up?
A: Simply visit your local electric cooperative’s page on connecttosavenc.com or call 844-577- SAVE (844-577-7283) to purchase and
schedule your free installation.

Q: Does Connect to Save lower my bill?
A: By participating in this program, you are not guaranteed to see a change in your average monthly electric bill. However, your new smart thermostat can be programmed to help you save energy and money—based on your unique comfort settings and schedules.

Q: How is Connect to Save different from just having a smart thermostat?
A: In addition to the savings your smart
thermostat may provide, Connect to Save will periodically call events to reduce demand on the grid during peak times. This offsets the need for your electric cooperative to purchase
as much wholesale electricity, which benefits the entire membership. Plus, you will receive an incentive for participating!

Q: What thermostats are eligible?
A: The following thermostats are eligible: ecobee3 lite, ecobee Smart Thermostat, Google® Nest Learning Thermostat and the Google® Nest Thermostat E, when purchased from the Connect to Save website. Members may purchase no more than two thermostats from the same manufacturer.

Q: Can I use my existing ecobee or Nest thermostat?
A: Not at this time. Connect to Save is only available to customers who purchase a qualifying thermostat via the Connect to Save website and have a Connect to Save technician install the thermostat at their home. If you have an existing ecobee or Google Nest thermostat, are not currently enrolled in an existing thermostat program and are a member of South River EMC, you may be eligible to join the Bring Your Own Thermostat (BYOT) program. Please contact South River EMC for more information.

Q: How do I know that I am eligible to participate?
A: Connect to Save is available to:
• Members of Carteret-Craven EC, Jones Onslow EMC, Lumbee River EMC or South River EMC
• Members whose accounts are current and in good standing
• Single- and individually metered multi-family properties who are not participating in a PV (photovoltaic)/ Net metering, Time of Use (TOU) or Bring Your Own Thermostat program
• Members who purchase an eligible thermostat (ecobee3 lite, ecobee Smart Thermostat, Google® Nest Learning Thermostat and the Google® Nest Thermostat E) from the Connect to Save website and have it installed by a Connect t Save technician
• Members who keep their smart thermostat connected to reliable Wi-Fi
• Members who have electric heating and air conditioning systems

Q: What do I get for participating?
A: You will receive $144 off the purchase price of a new qualifying smart thermostat (up to two incentives via the online store). Additionally, you will receive $50 each year you continue to participate in Smart Savings. You may receive an additional $50 when you opt for the installation of a hot water heater load control (restrictions apply).

Q: When will I receive my incentive?
A: The smart thermostat rebates are instant at checkout when purchased online or when scheduling over the phone. The $50 annual incentive will be sent within four to six weeks of the anniversary of your installation. If you opted for a smart water heater controller, you’ll receive a one-time $50 gift card four to six weeks after device installation.

Q: Can I continue participating in Connect to Save if I move to a new house?
A: If you move into a new home within a participating cooperative territory, you will need to re-enroll in the program. You can purchase your smart thermostat and schedule your free installation by visiting your cooperative’s page on connecttosavenc.com or by calling 844-577-SAVE (844-577-7283).
Q: Will I get to keep my old thermostat?
A: If your old thermostat contains mercury, it is legally required that we take it for safe disposal and recycling. If it does not contain mercury, your old thermostat will be left with you to store or dispose of.

Q: I just moved into my new home. The previous owner was enrolled in Connect to Save and left their smart thermostat behind. Can I sign up for the program?
A: Yes! You should be receiving a letter in the mail from us, notifying you of the program details. If you choose to opt out, you will have 30 days to respond. Otherwise, you will be automatically enrolled.

Q: Where can I log in to my smart thermostat account?
A: For ecobee thermostats, go to ecobee.com and click on the “LOGIN” button. For Google® Nest thermostats, go to nest.com and click on the “Sign in” button.

Q: How do I reset my smart thermostat password?
A: To reset your ecobee password, go to ecobee.com, click on the “LOGIN” button at the top right-hand side of the page, click “FORGOT PASSWORD” and enter the email address you used to register your thermostat. A new temporary password will be sent to your inbox. To reset your Google® Nest password, start by opening the Google® Nest app or by visiting home.nest.com and tapping “FORGOT PASSWORD.” Enter your email address to receive an email to reset your password. If your account has 2-step verification, you’ll need to verify your account to reset your password.

Q: Can I get assistance installing my new smart thermostat?
A: Yes! When you purchase your smart thermostat from connecttosavenc.com,  you will be prompted to schedule your free installation. We’ll handle the rest!

Q: How am I helping the environment?
A: When energy demand is high, sometimes energy providers need to use less efficient power plants to meet the power needs. By
participating in Connect to Save, you help reduce electric demand during peak times and prevent the use of older, less efficient power plants. Connect to Save is a simple, easy way each of us can come together to create a more reliable and more sustainable energy future.

Q: Why is my Google Nest Displaying "energy rush hour?"
A: Connect to Save is powered by Google® Nest’s Rush Hour Rewards, so if you own a Google® Nest, you will see “energy rush hour” displayed on your device during an event. Rush Hour Rewards events adhere to the same rules as Connect to Save events (no more than 48 events; a minimum of one per month, no more than four hours).

Q: Does Connect to Save work with ecobee sensors?
A: Yes. Furthermore, please make sure to avoid placing your sensors in drafty or unusually warm or cold locations, such as near a vent, fan, window or oven.

Water Heater LCD Questions

Q:  Why does my electric utility want to control my electric water heater?
A: Typically, electric water heaters operate in the early morning and late afternoon/early evening—which coincides with peak energy demand times. The intelligent controller continuously monitors your tank temperatures. During an event when the water heater is controlled off, the intelligent controller will override the event and turn your water heater back on automatically if it senses you are running low on stored hot water.

Q:  What does this intelligent water heater control do?
A: The intelligent water heater control turns your electric hot water heater off at peak times, while still monitoring the temperature within the tank. If, while your water heater is turned off, the hot water stored in the tank drops to a certain temperature, the control will override the cooperative’s control period and turn your water heater back on.

Q:  Will the intelligent water heater control help lower my bill?
A: No, not directly. It does however contribute to lowering the wholesale power cost paid by your electric cooperative, thus benefiting the entire membership.

Q:  Will the intelligent water heater control make my water heater more efficient?
A: No. It simply controls when your water heater operates as events are called during peak demand times.

Q:  Will I run out of hot water with the intelligent water heater control connect?
A: This device does not prevent you from running out of hot water. If, while your water heater is controlled during an event, the hot water stored in the tank drops to a certain temperature, the control will override the cooperative’s control period and automatically turn your water heater back on. The vast majority of members will not even notice the controller is working in the background.

Q. What do I do if I have to replace my water heater that has a control on it?
A: If your water heater is replaced and has a control on it, simply have your plumber or electrician remove the controller from the failed water heater and set it aside for you. Next, call 844-577-SAVE (844-577-7283) and make an appointment to have it reconnected to your new water heater.

Q. Who do I contact if I have additional questions?
A:Simply call 844-577-SAVE (844-577- 7283) 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or email service@connecttosavenc.com. We’re here to help!