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New free thermostats allow homeowners remote control over their air conditioners via the internet

Aug 16, 2007

JUNO BEACH, Fla. – Florida Power & Light Company is set to launch its customers into cyberspace, where they can save money by tying energy conservation and the home air conditioner together. Welcome to the 21st century world of the Internet-ready programmable thermostat, a remote control device that can be used when you’re at home, at work, or on vacation.

FPL recently received approval from the Florida Public Service Commission to test this program, which will start this fall in Broward County.  And, since central air-conditioning and heating require the most energy in a home, and thermostat settings can have a significant impact on the electric bill, hopes are high that a successful evaluation will lead to the addition of this new tool to FPL’s overall line of energy-efficiency products.

The thermostat, which will be offered to customers free of charge, will display virtual thermostat knobs that put choices at your fingertips. Think about the flexibility and potential cost-savings. You can minimize energy use when no one is at home, and then with the touch of a button ensure that the temperature is just where you like it when you come through the door.

Along with not charging for the thermostat, FPL will install it for free.  In return, the customer agrees to let FPL occasionally cycle the air conditioner for short periods of time, only when necessary, to conserve energy during heavy demand.  However, the customer always has the ability to override the utility’s remote control over the air conditioner via the internet or by calling a toll-free number provided by FPL.

If a customer is interested, he or she can also ask FPL to install similar control mechanisms over pool pumps or water heaters or both. This allows FPL to cycle off these devices for brief periods, if needed.  In return, participating customers receive monthly credits from FPL on their electric bills. Called On Call, this program means the utility can better manage overall electricity demand and that ensures reliability.  For customers participating in the thermostat pilot program, On Call credits will only be offered for the pool pump and the water heater.

 “We are committed to providing our customers with helpful information and easy to use tools, such as this new programmable thermostat, that allow them to take control of their energy usage,” said Marlene Santos, FPL’s vice president of customer service.  “This technology also will help FPL avoid the need to build power plants just to serve occasional demand peaks.   That saves all of us money in the long run.”

In fact, FPL estimates customer participation in the utility’s conservation and energy management programs has helped prevent the need to build 11 power plants over the past quarter-century.  The On Call program currently has close to 750,000 customers. Their participation in the program saved 938 MW of peak power demand by the end of last summer – which equals the output of three power plants.    

Programmable thermostat customers will be able to receive their On Call monthly credits for the water heater and the pool pump, but not their air conditioner. 

“Along with helping our customers, these programs help further the objectives of the Florida Energy Efficiency Conservation Act (FEECA) to reduce and control the growth of energy consumption and increase conservation of Florida’s natural resources,” said Santos. “Using energy wisely is more important than ever. We can all do a little more, at every level, to find innovative new ways to conserve our resources.”

FPL offers a wide array of services to help customers manage and better control their energy use.  For more information and tips on how to save energy while keeping cool this summer, visit www.FPL.com/toolkit.

Florida Power & Light Company is the principal subsidiary of FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE: FPL), nationally known as a high quality, efficient and customer-driven organization focused on energy-related products and services. With annual revenues of nearly $16 billion and a growing presence in 26 states, FPL Group is widely recognized as one of the country's premier power companies. Florida Power & Light Company serves 4.4 million customer accounts in Florida. FPL Energy, LLC, FPL Group's competitive energy subsidiary, is a leader in producing electricity from clean and renewable fuels. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.FPL.com, www.FPLGroup.com and www.FPLEnergy.com

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