“Take Charge” by handing over the dial

(WJHL) – To combat power shortages at peak usage times, Appalachian Power is offering $50 for control over smart thermostats installed in some customers’ homes.

The Bring Your Own Thermostat (or Take Charge) program created by American Electric Power-subsidiary Appalachian Power runs from May 1 to Sept. 31 every year, and offers a one-time $50 gift card to Virginia customers who hand over temporary control of their thermostat during the year’s hottest months.

That control comes in the form of temperature adjustments “of a few degrees” during peak demand times, the website says. Each alteration is said to typically last under four hours and changes are not allowed on weekends/holidays, except in the case of an emergency.

When a temperature change starts, customers are notified by an app on their phone or on the thermostat itself. If customers want their thermostat to stay where it is, they can opt-out at any point during the change.

According to Appalachian Power’s FAQ website, the program requires an internet-connected thermostat that allows remote control. Once a customer’s first year in the program is over, another $25 gift card is offered for every central unit hooked up across each season they stay enrolled.

The company said the program helps relieve strains put on the grid during hot hours, and avoids the use of less efficient power sources as a last resort.

“That’s good for the environment,” Appalachian Power’s website says. “And it helps keep energy costs low for everyone.”

To read more on the program or enroll, visit Appalachian Power’s website.