Nfld. & Labrador

Tech company planning to prove its thermostats reduce energy cost with new pilot program

Mysa Smart Thermostats is researching how its product will help to reduce strain on the province's electrical grid.

Mysa wants to use its data to help power grids continent-wide

Daan Goossens and Josh Green of Mysa Smart Thermostats launched BrightNL on Tuesday in hopes of collecting data needed to prove that the company's product can cut down on energy consumption during peak hours. (Paula Gale/CBC)

Local tech company Mysa Smart Thermostats is researching how its product will help to reduce strain on the Newfoundland and Labrador's electrical grid.

Mysa is hoping 1,000 of its customers will opt in for a pilot program it calls "BrightNL," which appears to be a play on the notorious #darknl power outages that knocked out service for tens of thousands of customers in 2014. 

The program will allow for small adjustments to be made during timed events through the company's thermostat software to reduce the strain on the local electrical grid, while also gathering data to prove that it works.  

"These are challenges that utilities right across the continent are facing. It's not unique to Newfoundland and Labrador," Josh Green, company co-founder and CEO, told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show

Mysa began in 2014 as an idea with only two employees.

Today the company has more than 50 employees, all based in St. John's, and says it has sold tens of thousands of its thermostat units across North America.

The company plans to prove that minor adjustments to its thermostats during peak hours on the electrical grid will help reduce the energy consumption needed to power the grid, while also not interfering with or disrupting lives.

The thermostat itself will do the work for the owner, adjusting by 3 C during times when electricity usage is at its highest. The idea is for customers to use energy either an hour before or an hour after peak strain on a power grid.

"It's really about proving the data and the repeatability," said Green.

"When we talk to electric utility providers right across the continent, they want us to show the reliability and repeatability of this technology. So, BrightNL, this phase of the project is really about just demonstrating and proving out the technology, and the data is what we really need."

Mysa CEO Josh Green says 400 thermostat owners have already signed up BrightNL. (Katie Breen/CBC)

As of Tuesday owners of 400 thermostats have opted in to the program's "community grid."

With the launch of BrightNL, the company hopes to reach its goal of 1,000 participants. 

To date, according to Green, Mysa has already demonstrated that the technology works through a small sample of 100 thermostats. Now the company is taking it up a notch. 

If the program proves that it can work on a large scale, there are implications that on an even larger scale it can help cut down on energy emissions, according to Daan Goossens, Mysa's vice-president of marketing.

"That's our company's entire mission, just to do our piece of the puzzle for climate change, and managing how we use energy is a big piece of that," Goossens said.

Interested participants can visit brightnl.ca for more information. The company is offering a $20 rebate on units to new customers sold between Jan. 14-21.

The pilot program will run until March.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show

now