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Virtual Peaker and PG&E Announce the Launch of WatterSaver

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Virtual Peaker, a cloud-based SaaS company that empowers modern utilities with the friendliest end-to-end distributed energy resources (DERs) platform, announces the launch of WatterSaver, a new pilot program with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) that incentivizes customers on a Time-of-Use (TOU) rate to heat water when electricity prices are lower.
Virtual Peaker and PG&E Announce the Launch of WatterSaver

PG&E customers enrolled in a Time-of-Use rate plan who sign up for WatterSaver can optimize their energy use and save money by connecting their water heaters via the internet or cellular to the program. WatterSaver automatically takes advantage of lower electricity rates, heating water at less expensive times of the day known as off-peak. Participants also receive a $50 gift card for enrolling plus an additional $5 gift card for each month of participation.

The WatterSaver pilot is expected to be the largest program of its kind in the United States, connecting to and optimizing residential water heaters for approximately 5,000 – 9,000 eligible customers. In addition to saving money, participating PG&E customers will help increase electric grid reliability and support increased renewable energy generation like solar and wind power by shifting energy use to off-peak times. The goal of the behind-the-meter thermal storage program is to provide up to 2.5 megawatts of peak-load reduction by the end of 2025.

Administered through PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission, WatterSaver is implemented by the Association for Energy Affordability (AEA), Virtual Peaker and Energy Solutions. Eligible equipment includes smart heat pump water heaters, water heaters that are compatible with a CTA-2045 EcoPort module from e-Radio, or electric resistance waters heaters that are retrofitted with the Armanda Power control module.

“By integrating Virtual Peaker’s cloud-based residential energy demand response platform, PG&E is taking a strong environmental and customer-centric leadership position—turning electric water heaters into smart, secure, networked energy storage assets,” said William (Bill) Burke, the founder, and CEO of Virtual Peaker. “WatterSaver will help the electric grid absorb more renewable energy, flatten the power curve, and reduce harmful carbon emissions without impacting customer comfort.”

“This innovative partnership will add intelligence to otherwise dormant appliances. WatterSaver creates grid-connected assets that store thermal energy and shift the load away from peak usage times so our TOU customers have hot water whenever they need it without having to pay peak energy prices,” said PG&E’s Vice President of Business Development and Customer Engagement, Aaron August.

The pilot launched on March 15, 2022, and will run until December 31, 2025.

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