KCP&L expands Energy Optimizer program


Kevin Bryant,
Vice President of
Energy Solutions,
Kansas City, MO, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 12, 2009 – Kansas City Power & Light Company has awarded a three-year contract extension to Honeywell to manage its Energy Optimizer program, which reduces energy demand when air conditioning use is at its highest.
As part of the extension, participating customers will now receive the Honeywell UtilityPRO™ programmable thermostat, which will give KCP&L greater control of peak consumption and help customers cut their energy costs.

Since the program’s inception in 2005, more than 30,000 thermostats have been installed, doubling the original three-year goal. The thermostats include a communications module that allows KCP&L to connect with the devices and cycle air conditioners off and on for brief intervals. This only happens on the hottest days of the year, when energy use spikes.

Honeywell plans to install an additional 50,000 UtilityPRO thermostats in houses, apartments and small businesses by the end of 2011. As a result, KCP&L will be able to reduce approximately 80 MW of peak energy use.
“Program success depends on maximizing customer participation,” said Kevin Bryant, vice president of Energy Solutions for KCP&L. “UtilityPRO is an appealing incentive that will help drive enrollment, making Energy Optimizer an even more effective means to defer new peaking power plants while maximizing customer savings.”

KCP&L, a subsidiary of Great Plains Energy, increased the Energy Optimizer goals based on the program’s past performance. In addition, Great Plains Energy acquired Aquila, Inc. and its Missouri-based electric utilities in 2007, which increased KCP&L’s customer base to approximately 800,000 residential and commercial customers.
Honeywell will continue to provide program management, installation and call center support as part of the contract extension. The company will also provide an expanded scope of marketing services for Energy Optimizer, including an enhanced customer web site and customer research to better identify and reach target customers.

The UtilityPRO is simple to use, with intuitive logic and menu-driven programming. The device also offers features including touchscreen interaction and a large, easy-to-read backlit display. For KCP&L, UtilityPRO helps improve customer service by allowing the utility to send customized text messages to customers, as well as information like weather forecasts or updates on other conservation programs.

“Utilities are tasked with managing energy consumption in the face of increasing demand and fiscal concerns, and Energy Optimizer is an ideal example of how it can be done effectively,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions.