Citizens For A Better Norwood

Friday, November 30, 2007

Duke Energy’s free Power Manager offer

Some of us got a reminder letter recently from Duke Energy when we didn’t sign up for Power Manager after receiving the initial offer weeks ago. A call to a local heating and air conditioning contractor to find out what they’re recommending produced some interesting results. They didn’t have an opinion on whether or not the device could harm residential air conditioning systems, but they did say not a single company employee is signing up. Why? Because of this statement in the solicitation letter: “To help keep you comfortable, the indoor fan continues to circulate air throughout your home” during the few minutes each half hour Power Manager turns the air conditioning off and on. The contractor’s employees know, of course, the circulated air will not be cooled air; but regarding this, Duke Energy’s website claims, “Temperature changes during the cycling events are minimal.”

The Duke letter also says the system is safe and that Power Manager is regularly tested by various equipment manufacturers to ensure there will be no damage to outdoor air conditioning units. We called Duke to get the names of the various manufacturers. We were given two, one making the device for Indiana customers, the other for Ohio customers. We asked if there have been product tests by independent 3rd parties and were assured a callback if there have been any.

Conflicted and sitting on the fence about Power Manger, we wonder what conclusions our readers have reached about having it installed. Does anyone have some research or references to share? If you’ve signed up, can you tell us why you’re comfortable with the program? And at the risk of sounding like whacko conspiracy theorists, does anyone besides at least one of us think this voluntary program might be the first step towards mandatory installation of Power Manager? Is Power Manager for heating next?

12/1/07 UPDATE: Today’s Cincinnati Beacon takes up the topic of Power Manager and makes some interesting comments on several of Duke's answers to questions about the device.