Cool Smart FAQ
What is the Cool Smart Program?
OPPD’s Cool Smart program pays customers to participate in peak-load reduction activities. Peak-load refers to the amount of electricity being used when demand for electricity is at its highest.
Why does OPPD have the Cool Smart Program?
OPPD completed a study to look at power generation and ways to reduce peak demand by 300 megawatts by 2023. As a result, we are offering OPPD Power Forward solutions, a portfolio of demand-side management programs including the Cool Smart program.
This program helps eliminate the need for OPPD to purchase electricity from other providers during peak demand times, usually at a premium price. Your participation also helps OPPD delay the cost of building additional power plants. Deferring this cost helps keep electric rates low. OPPD is a public power utility, which means Cool Smart benefits you, a customer-owner.
How does the program work?
OPPD will attach a free outdoor device to your home on the siding or brick nearest your AC unit or heat pump. This will require the use of hardware, such as screws or nails, but no appointments are necessary and no one goes into your home. On some summer days when demand for electricity is at its highest, the device will manage your AC for 2.5 hours between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m. During this time, your AC will run in approximately 15 minute intervals (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off), while your cooling system’s blower fan continues to circulate air throughout your home.
How often will my AC or heat pump be managed?
Depending on summer weather patterns, OPPD may not need to manage your air conditioner at all, but by participating in the program you are agreeing to allow OPPD to manage your air conditioner up to 12 days per year. AC Management will never occur on holidays or weekends.
Why manage air conditioners?
Air conditioners and heat pumps contribute greatly to the demand for electricity on warm summer days. AC Management events are usually not noticed by participants, but significantly lowers the demand for electricity.
Do I need to be home while the device is installed?
No. OPPD will attach a free outdoor device to your home on the siding or brick nearest your AC unit or heat pump (see photo below). This will require the use of hardware, such as screws or nails, but no appointments are necessary and no one goes into your home.
Please note: Per city electrical code, a city official may inspect your AC unit or heat pump after the AC Management device has been installed. This inspection is simply for the city to verify the device was installed properly. No appointments are necessary and you do not need to be home. The city official will have the proper identification and uniform, and drive a marked city vehicle or private vehicle.
Will my home remain comfortable during a management event?
Yes. AC management events will only last 2.5 hours. During an event your cooling system will never be off for longer than about 15 minutes and the blower fan will always continue to circulate the conditioned air already in your home, keeping you and your family comfortable. A 1 to 3 degree temperature increase can be expected in a typical home.
What do the lights on my Cool Smart device indicate?
A solid or blinking green light is normal operation, and device is receiving it’s paging signal. A red light indicates the air conditioner is being managed.
I have two air conditioners; will they be managed at the same time?
During a Cool Smart management event, your AC unit will run in approximately 15-minute intervals (on for 15, off for 15). While it’s possible that both AC units’ off cycle will overlap slightly, it is very unlikely they will be off at the same time for the entire 15-minute off cycle.
Will having the Cool Smart device installed on my AC void the manufactures warranty?
OPPD advises you to contact the manufacturer of your AC system to answer that question. There are more than five million and growing users of these types of devices across the country.
Will the on and off intervals of the management event damage my AC or heat pump?
No. Your air conditioner naturally cycles on and off as needed to maintain a set temperature in your home. When your AC unit or heat pump is managed it will turn off and on in the same fashion without harming the unit.
Will you have access to any other systems in my house?
No. We will only help manage the energy used by your air conditioner or heat pump.
Does my utility company control my thermostat settings?
No. You control your thermostat settings – OPPD cannot adjust your thermostat settings through this program.
Will the Cool Smart program lower my monthly utility bill?
The program will help OPPD maintain low rates and keep energy costs low. You will also receive a yearly bill credit for your participation. However, participants don’t usually see a significant difference in their electricity consumption month-to-month.
What do I get for participating in the program?
After the Cool Smart device has been installed, OPPD will deduct $30 from your upcoming electric bill. You will also receive a $20 annual bill credit, which will be deducted from your OPPD bill each September. That’s $50 for the first year!
Please note: You must have the AC management device installed prior to Sept. 1 in order to receive the $20 participation credit for that year. For instance, if your device is installed on Sept. 2, 2012, you will receive the $30 installation credit. Management events typically occur in June, July and August. Therefore, any device installed after Sept. 1 will have not participated in any summer management events and will not receive the $20 annual bill credit until the following year.
If I’m on the Level Payment Plan, how will I receive these bill credits?
The bill credits will be subtracted from your monthly budget amount. For example, if your budget is $50 a month and you receive the $30 Cool Smart credit in June, the amount due in June would be $20 instead of $50. The same applies to the $20 annual credit you will receive each September for participating in the program.
Will the program cost me anything?
No. The program, the device and the installation is free. You will not pay anything to participate in the program. In fact, OPPD will pay you to participate.
Am I required to do anything while participating in the program?
No. Participating in the program is easy and requires no effort, time or investment on your part.
Am I eligible to participate?
To be eligible to participate in Cool Smart you must:
- Have a working central air conditioner or heat pump
- Own a single-family home
- Be willing to have a free outdoor device attached to your home on the siding or brick nearest your AC unit or heat pump. This will require the use of hardware, such as screws or nails.
- Be confident everyone in your home is healthy enough to tolerate a 1 to 3 degree temperature rise in your home
- Not be already enrolled in OPPD's Thermostat Program. Email customer service or call 402-536-4131 to cancel enrollment in the Thermostat Program prior to enrolling in Cool Smart.
Can I participate if I have a geothermal system?
Unfortunately no, geothermal systems do not qualify for Cool Smart because of issues with the device not receiving a signal.
Can I choose not to participate in a management event on any given day?
Yes. If you wish to opt-out of a management event, you may do so by notifying OPPD a day in advance before 3 p.m. You may opt-out two days each year.
I have two central air conditioners; can I enroll just one?
No. To participate in Cool Smart, all air conditioning units at the home must be enrolled. A separate incentive will be given for each unit.
How do I sign up for Cool Smart?
You can sign up online, email customer service, or call OPPD at 402-536-4131 or 1-877-536-4131 outside the metro. By returning a completed application form, you are indicating a desire to participate and have a device installed at your home.
I’m upgrading my cooling system, but would like to stay on the program. Do I need to do anything?
Email customer service or call 402-536-4131 or 1-877-536-4131 outside the metro. OPPD will arrange to have your device installed on your new air conditioner or heat pump at no additional cost.
If my device fails or is damaged, will it prevent my cooling or heating system from working?
No. The device installed at your home is extremely reliable. The equipment has been used in similar programs across the country for more than 20 years. It is designed to allow your cooling or heating system to continue working in the unlikely event of a failure. If you believe the switch on your home has failed, please email customer service, or call 402-536-4131 or 1-877-536-4131 outside the metro.
Who do I contact if I have a question?
If you have not yet signed up for Cool Smart, email customer service or call 402-536-4131 or 1-877-536-4131 outside the metro.
What is the difference between OPPD’s HVAC Smart and Cool Smart programs?
Cool Smart is a partnership between the customer and OPPD. This air conditioning management program helps drive down energy demand on the hottest days of summer. Participating customers receive $30 for signing up and another $20 each year they stay on the program.
OPPD’s HVAC Smart program pays customer rebates when you purchase a high efficiency air conditioner or heat pump.
Why does my air conditioner need a disconnect switch to have the Cool Smart device installed?
An air conditioning disconnect switch is needed for our electrical contractor to install the Cool Smart device on your air conditioner per the National Electrical Code, and City of Omaha electrical inspectors division.
Don't see your question listed above?
Contact OPPD's customer service at 402-536-4131 or 1-877-536-4131 outside the metro, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.