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With electricity costs on the rise and Westchester residents looking to lessen their carbon footprint, thousands of Con Edison customers are realizing the many benefits of using the free GridRewards app to manage their daily energy use, including cash rewards and lower monthly utility bills. County Executive George Latimer is teaming up with Sustainable Westchester, Logical Buildings & local municipal leaders to tout this new app which sends out easy-to-follow prompts that inform subscribers when to raise their air-conditioner settings by a few degrees, run appliances like washing machines and dishwashers and also sends out reminders to turn off lights in unoccupied rooms, among other tips – all while helping the user accrue cash rewards.

Latimer said: “A majority of GridRewards users have already received cash rewards for tracking and reducing energy use, while lowering utility bills and reducing electric load on the grid. Saving money, earning rewards and taking steps to lessen our impact on the environment is a true win-win-win.”

The GridRewards app sends out notifications that help users make energy management decisions in real-time. They are also prompted as they accrue and when the rewards can be collected through PayPal for instant cash or by a paper check mailed to the subscriber’s address.

The creator of the app and operator of the program, Logical Buildings, anticipates increased subscribership in upcoming months, largely in response to escalating energy rates. Sustainable Westchester, a nonprofit municipal membership organization that counts forty-five Westchester municipalities as members, began its collaboration with Logical Buildings in 2020.

Sustainable Westchester Executive Director Nina Orville said: “Sustainable Westchester chose to partner with Logical Buildings to promote GridRewards because we immediately saw how empowering it was for Westchester residents and small businesses to take more control of their energy usage and while doing so, to earn money and reduce strain on our electric grid. Reducing usage during times of peak demand also has an important environmental justice impact as those are the times that the utility puts the dirtiest power generating plants into service. Reducing environmental impact while providing other benefits to our communities is core to our mission and approach.”

In the nearly two years since the program was rolled out, the GridRewards “community” has prevented more than 200 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere. This reduction of carbon is equivalent to taking more than 11,000 homes completely off the grid during high electric load events, 15,000 cars off the road for one day, or offsetting more than 500,000 miles driven. In New York City, alone, the reduced load this past summer drastically decreased the use of pollution-producing peaker plants.

County Director of Energy & Sustainability Peter McCartt said: “Westchester County Government enrolled in a few Demand Response Programs and are on pace to earn almost $1,000,000 over these four years while at the same time reducing the load on the grid during those extreme heat events of July and August. Now with this GridRewards program, residents and small businesses - while getting paid - can also help to reduce the chance for black-outs and to eliminate the need to build or operate expensive fossil fuel ‘Peaker Plants’ as we transition to renewable energy resources like solar, hydro, and the massive wind farms being built out in the Atlantic.”

The free GridRewards app can be downloaded to any smartphone from either the App Store or Google Play and does not require Wi-Fi, a computer, or technical expertise to set up and use.

Logical Buildings CEO Jeff Hendler said: “With the completion of this year’s first payment cycle in January, we were able to distribute cash rewards to thousands of GridRewards subscribers in Westchester and also shared access to information that enabled them to make smart decisions to reduce their monthly utility bills.”