BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. - In an effort to save energy and decrease the drain on an overloaded electrical substation, Puget Sound Energy will take control of hundreds of home heaters on Bainbridge Island and turn down the temperature when power usage gets too high this winter.
But before you think this is a case of Big Brother hogging the bed covers, this power grab is completely voluntary.
Some 500 homeowners have already signed on to allow PSE to install devices in their homes that will allow the company to remotely turn down the temperature a degree or two during exceptionally cold days this winter when other people are turning their thermostats up.
PSE officials say the chill-outs will only occur at peak usage times and last a few hours. In exchange, volunteers will get a $50 payment.
The main goal is to reduce demand on the island's increasingly overloaded electrical substation which, during cold spells, can be pushed to nearly 10 percent above its normal capacity.
PSE is planning to build a new substation and transmission line, but they want to see if they might be able to first convince more people to reduce their consumption through voluntary efforts like this.