Google’s i smart home device business,
Nest, is increasing its ties to the utility
industry by adding another partner to bring
its smart thermostats into homes to reduce
energy consumption and provide that unused
power back to utilities in times of peak
power demand.

Last year the company inked an agreement
with OhmConnect , and it has now signed
another deal with the startup Leap. While the
OhmConnect deal helped Nest manage end
customer sign-ups, in its deal with Leap,
sign-ups are handled through Nest’s Rush
Hour Rewards program and Leap provides
the exchange through which reduced power
is provided to the utility.

The agreement will be another way for Leap
to provide power to Pacific Gas & Electric
under its existing 45 megawatt contract with
the utility.

“Google Nest is an excellent partner to have
as we continue our efforts to deliver much-
needed flexible capacity in California – their
decision to join the Leap Exchange is a
wonderful example of using today’s
increasingly smart and responsive
appliances as assets that benefit the grid as
a whole,” said Thomas Folker, CEO of Leap,
in a statement.

According to Folker, every consumer has
about one kilowatt of load they can reduce
over the course of a year. It’s about a $50
value per year and Folker’s Leap is installing
the Nest home hub for free (a $120 value),
Folker said.

It’s a way for consumers to get the Nest
Hub (listening device, smart thermostat and
Internet of Things control device) into their
homes for free, while Leap handles selling
the load onto the grid.

The company has about 2,500 Nest devices
already enrolled in the program for about
2.5 megawatts of the 45 megawatts the
company has promised to PG&E.

Ultimately, Leap thinks it can take this
partnership on the road to other areas where
the company is operating, including Texas
and Southern California.

Nest has also done work directly with
consumers in Southern California, including
projects with Southern California Edison, i
SDG&E’s programs and a load reduction
deal for 50 megawatts with Southern
California Edison.