Dallas, TX, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- July 16, 2008 – A pilot project aimed at cutting electricity bills and lowering Texans' energy use during late summer afternoons when electricity use is highest begins this week in Dallas, aimed at lowering electricity bills and reducing power use during times of peak demand. Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technology (CCET) member companies Direct Energy, Reliant Energy and TXU Energy will begin recruiting customers to participate in this unique program.  

CCET, an organization created in 2005 by the electric industry, technology companies and universities to promote new technology, is leading the program which is being conducted in both Dallas and Houston this summer and into the fall. The pilot takes advantage of advanced metering technology deployed in Dallas by Oncor and in Houston by CenterPoint Energy.

"The project is designed to demonstrate that emerging electric technologies can conveniently provide consumers with the ability to manage their electricity use and reduce their electric bills," said Robert Howden, CCET's chief executive officer.

The pilot will test whether control of consumers' thermostats, water heaters and pool pumps by Direct Energy, Reliant and TXU Energy will be accepted by consumers during periods of the day when wholesale electric prices are high. Consumers will have the opportunity to override thermostat controls. If the pilot succeeds, consumer acceptance may allow these retail companies to reduce purchases of the most expensive power.

Customers will receive an incentive payment to participate, a free inspection of their air conditioning system, and a new thermostat in exchange for participating in the pilot this summer and fall.

"The CCET project presents a unique opportunity for the electric industry and state leaders to gain insight into what actions produce the biggest benefit during peak periods," said Dr. Milton Holloway, CCET's chief operating officer. "Texas' leading electric market participants are deploying state-of-the-art technologies such as remotely controlled thermostats and advanced metering technology that will help consumers monitor electric use.”

Customer recruiting for the pilot by Reliant, Direct Energy and TXU Energy is near completion in Houston and has began in Dallas. The pilot targets up to 500 residents in each city to voluntarily participate.

Residents in neighborhoods where Oncor and CenterPoint Energy have installed advanced metering technology that can measure electric consumption in these homes every 15 minutes are eligible to participate in the pilot.

CCET members supporting this project through funding, time and equipment include electric delivery companies American Electric Power (AEP Texas), CenterPoint Energy, and Oncor; energy retailers Direct Energy, Reliant, and TXU Energy; and technology companies Comverge and CURRENT Group. Comverge and Corporate Systems Engineering manufacture products that will control equipment in customer homes and provide software to manage the customers' equipment. CURRENT Group has provided systems integration experience for demand side systems in Dallas.