The other free way to stay cool in New York CIty. Reuters/Eric Thayer

And it's totally free if you're already a Con Edison customer. 

If you live in New York City, and Con Edison is your electric provider, you can now add your apartment to the internet of things for free.

Con Edison is providing devices that when plugged into the wall and an air conditioner allow for the control of the AC unit through a smart phone app and website. A New Yorker who forgot to turn off their AC when they left their apartment could do so though the app across town or across the country—saving them money on their electrical bill. A commuter would be able to turn on their unit when leaving work and come home to a cool apartment—possibly cooling it in a more efficient way.

The app also allows for scheduled cooling by time and day of the week.

The ThinkEco smartAC app.

The service is provided in partnership with ThinkEco, a company that manufactures and sells internet-connected outlets also known as modlets. The free devices retail for $120, and Con Ed will send each qualified customer five or more of them.

The app will show exactly how much power a person’s unit is consuming via the device, and how much it’s costing them to keep it running. For residents with central air conditioning, Con Ed has a similar program to provide and install internet-connected thermostats.

The benefit for Con Ed comes from using the program to enable conservation measures. Customers who let the power company raise the temperature a few degrees in their apartment on hot days (but still—as the company says—”sufficiently cool”) when there is more strain on the electrical grid will receive a $25 gift card. This type of control gives ConEd more flexibility in preventing brown-outs and black-outs.

Enrollment in the program is on the coolNYC website.

About the Author

David Yanofsky

David Yanofsky is a reporter creating data driven graphics and features for Quartz.

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