B.C. Hydro is testing a smartphone app that lets users remotely control appliances around their home.
The application, called HydroHome, was designed to help B.C. residents manage and minimize their electricity consumption. But in doing that, it includes a lot of neat features.
You could be lying in bed just after the morning’s alarm clock buzzed and use the app to tell your coffeemaker to begin brewing an espresso. It can also control compatible thermostats. You could also use the app to shut the power off for connected appliances; for example, an oven that was accidentally left on after you rushed out of the house for the day, or a television that you forgot to turn off before leaving the country for a vacation.
The app works with a connected “hub” that monitors electricity consumption with appliance-specific detail.
“With the app alone, you can see graphs with energy use information, get tips, in-app reports about your usage, set up alerts and notifications, and get estimates of your upcoming BC Hydro bills,” reads a B.C. Hydro media release.
“If you choose to later add a smart hub, the app then gives you real-time energy use information,” it continues. “Plus you add the ability to control connected devices and track device-by-device usage like fridges, TVs, electronics, and baseboard heaters. You can track "always-on" usage, shop for connected devices from within the app, and set up enhanced alerts.
“The HydroHome system is compatible with a wide range of devices including thermostats, light switches/dimmers/motion detectors, water leak and smoke detectors and smart speakers (Amazon Alexa).”
The app is still in a beta phase.
To download and use HydroHome, you have to complete an application form and B.C. Hydro has to accept you for inclusion in a trial.
Registration is open now. The trial period is scheduled to begin on June 1, 2019, and from that date run for two years.
The app is free but a B.C. Hydro website about HydroHomes states that only a “limited number” of B.C. residents will be accepted into the trial.
“By using the app regularly, you can reduce your energy usage by finding new ways to save, and save as much as 5-15% a year,” the website reads. “For many customers this can be savings of over $150.”