Green

Nest goes big in Texas with utility distribution deal

Thermostat maker Nest is joining forces with its first utility company, Reliant of Texas. The energy provider plans to distribute the smart thermostat to customers who sign up for the Reliant Learn & Conserve two-year plan.

The Nest thermostat attracts customers from energy-savers to design lovers. The design comes from a pair of former Apple employees: Tony Fadell, an ex-senior vice president in charge of the iPod group; and former iPod software lead engineer Matt Rogers. The two paired Apple’s taste for design with smart energy controls to create a round, Internet-connected device that can control your house’s temperature remotely.

The new partnership is an opportunity for Nest to branch out (no pun intended) from e-commerce and consumer home improvement distribution channels. Reliant’s Learn & Conserve program is a price-fixed, two-year plan for Texas residents. Each household that signs up for the plan receives one Nest thermostat. GigaOm reports that Nest will not allow Reliant to control household energy usage through the device’s remote control capabilities.

Nest provides iOS and web applications that let you monitor your energy consumption and change your home’s temperature accordingly. The thermostat provides suggestions on how to save money, such as, “Lowering your temperature one degree will save you $20 a month.” It also learns your family’s habits. If everyone leaves around 8 a.m. each morning, Nest will turn down your thermostat to save energy and then turn it on again prior to you return to the house (say, 6 p.m.). You can also turn on the heater or air conditioning from your phone so your house is the perfect temperature even if you get home at an unusual time.

Nest has a number of distributors other than Reliant. It recently struck up deals with Amazon, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Apple’s online and retail locations.

Image via Nest