Co-op saves member-owners energy, money with water heater controls

Co-op saves member-owners energy, money with water heater controls

Roanoke Electric Co-op is offering water heater control devices. Which boost energy efficiency and savings, free to member-owners.

“The co-op is committed to helping our member-owners save money,” said Marshall Cherry, chief operating officer for the co-op.  “To that end, we are waiving the $300.00 installment value for interested participants and project that member-owners will save $59.00 per year.”

The water heater control is a small but sophisticated ‘on/off’ switch that quietly monitors your home’s water heater. The switch allows the co-op to temporarily cycle off your water heater during times of high demand for electricity, when wholesale electricity prices are most expensive.

“Taken together, small adjustments to many water heaters across our membership can lead to big savings,” Cherry said.

The device provides several benefits to member-owners, including the following:

  • A monthly credit of $1.00 for participating in the water heater control program.
  • Cost savings for the entire membership. The control device allows the co-op to cycle your water heater off during periods of high demand for electricity, without sacrificing your comfort. This cycling saves the co-op, and thus you and the entire membership, money on its wholesale power bill.
  • Early notification of potential water heater problems, like a leak or failing heating element. If an issue is detected, your co-op is alerted. The co-op can then notify you so the issue can be investigated and remedied faster.

After the switch is installed, there is no noticeable difference in how the water heater operates. The device works quietly and automatically, and it will not impact the amount or temperature of your hot water. 

The intelligent control device also has a function that turns your water heater back on automatically when sensors indicate that hot water is being used. This helps ensure you have hot water when you need it.

Sign up to receive your water heater control today at


Common questions and answers about hot water heater controls:


Q: What will I experience as a co-op member-owner with my hot water system after the switch is installed?

A: You should experience no difference in the availability or temperature of hot water after the device is installed. This is one of the key goals for this pilot.


Q: Why would I want to participate?

A: This program reduces energy consumption, which reduces wholesale power costs. Another benefit is that water heater sensors can sometimes detect problems, such as a leaking tank or a bad heating element. In these cases, the co-op can notify you of possible issues.


Q: How long does it take to install?

A: Installation on an easily accessible water heater should take approximately 45 minutes to complete. A technician/electrician will call to schedule a convenient installation time.


Q: Will this damage my hot water heater in any way?

A: No. If the intelligent control device is physically connected to your water heater tank, the connection is made at an existing screw hole. The electrical operation is the same as a normal, non-controlled water heater.


Q: Is it possible to run out of hot water with this intelligent control switch on my water heater?

A: It is highly unlikely that you will run out of hot water with this switch installed. With the device, your water heater will stay on and heat water as you use it. If you often run out of hot water in your daily routine before a water heater control is installed, you will run out of hot water after the water heater control is installed, too. If you don’t run out of hot water often but have a busy household, there is a chance you could run out of hot water with the device installed. However, because this is a smart device, the co-op can adjust your control settings, based on your water heater usage, to reduce the likelihood of running out of water in the future.


Q: What should I do if I run out of hot water?

A: In the unlikely event you run out of hot water, contact us at 252-209-2236. If your hot water does run out, your water heater control device automatically communicates that information back to the co-op. Then, based on your usage pattern, the cooperative will adjust your control schedule accordingly to reduce the likelihood of running out of hot water in the future.


Q: Will you change the temperature setting on my water

A: If the setting is at or near 130 degrees or above, no change will be made to the settings. If the current setting is at or near 120 degrees, the thermostat settings will be increased to within the range of 125 to 130 degrees. Most water heaters are set to 125 degrees, so no change in the temperature setting will be necessary for most member-owners.

Date Published

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:22am
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