Who is Pecan Street Inc?

  • Headquartered at The University of Texas at Austin, Pecan Street is a research and development organization focused on reinventing America’s electric system. Pecan Street heads up a team of researchers from the University of Texas, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Environmental Defense Fund.
  • At Pecan Street, we work with homeowners and small businesses to create and obtain customer feedback on new clean energy innovations. Our work includes a research trial with the nation’s highest concentration of electric vehicles, and another research effort to find the optimal configuration for residential solar panels. Through these efforts, we’ve empowered over 500 Austin-area homeowners with advanced technologies that provide constant and highly detailed information about how energy is being used in the home. And as research capabilities broaden, so do our horizons: we’re upping the enrollment territory to truly Texas-sized proportions.

What is the Pecan Street Project?

  • Pecan Street is seeking homeowners throughout the Smart Meter Texas and deregulated service territories to take part in a research trial supported by the Smart Meter Texas home energy access initiative.
  • By signing up, volunteers will become part of the nation’s deepest-ever research trial into residential energy use. The research being conducted by Pecan Street and its University of Texas-based partners seeks to better understand how homeowners use energy and how new technologies impact the utility grid. The project is an ambitious effort intended to find real benefits for energy customers. And expanding that effort beyond Austin’s borders means our first-of-its-kind research can create greater, more scalable insights into how we can plan for a cleaner and greener energy future.

What is involved in being a volunteer in the Pecan Street Project?

  • Volunteering is easy! All you have to do is provide Pecan Street’s research team with access to your Smart Meter Texas information. Once a year, Pecan Street will send you a brief electronic survey that takes about 20 minutes to complete. The survey will help us understand your energy consumption patterns. As with all of Pecan Street’s research, volunteers’ identities are not shared with any research partners.

Why did I receive this offer from Green Mountain Energy?

  • As a Green Mountain Energy customer, we know what you’re always asking yourself: “What else can I do to make a difference?” Pecan Street Inc. is seeking Green Mountain Energy customers to take part in a research trial designed to make reducing home energy usage easier, more intuitive, and more cost-effective for homeowners like you.
  • Green Mountain is a proud member of the Pecan Street Inc. Consortium and Industry Advisory Council. Green Mountain joined Pecan Street as a way to accelerate our ability to provide innovative energy solutions to our customers through the data and technology made available by smart meters and the smart grid.

What is the benefit of volunteering?

  • As a volunteer in Pecan Street’s nationally recognized, award-winning research, you will be contributing to climate change solutions that are scalable, easy to implement, and that work. We know you understand the importance of planning for a cleaner and greener energy future. We also know that you want to make a difference right now. As a participant in Pecan Street’s research, you will not only provide valuable data that researchers, companies and policy-makers around the world are using to help plan for a better future; you will also receive information and resources designed to make reducing your carbon footprint simpler, more intelligent and more cost-effective.
  • All volunteers in the Pecan Street Project will receive access to Pecan Street’s unique online energy monitoring portal, which enables users to monitor their energy use in real time and its correlation to monthly utility bills alongside practical, individualized tips for reducing environmental impacts, energy use and costs.
  • If you are one of the first 50 volunteers to sign up, you will also receive a free home energy monitoring system that will tell you, in real time, how much energy your major appliances and systems use – like air conditioning, lighting, computers, televisions and refrigerators – and how much your home as a whole uses. This information will help you better understand opportunities to reduce your energy bill.

What if I don’t have a Smart Meter Texas account?

  • No problem! Every Green Mountain Energy customer can sign up with Smart Meter Texas online at www.smartmetertexas.com. Registration is free and takes about 5 minutes. You will need to have your ESI ID number, which can be found on your Green Mountain Energy® electricity bill, and your meter number. Pecan Street staff is available to help walk you through the set-up process at 512-782-9213, Monday ­­­through Friday from 9am – 6pm. They are looking forward to talking with you, so call any time!

If I’m one of the first 50 people to sign up and I receive the eGauge home energy monitoring system, what will be required of me?

  • The home energy monitoring system Pecan Street uses is called eGauge and it will be installed at your home for free by Pecan Street’s electrician. The installation typically takes about two hours and can be scheduled at your convenience. It’s a commercially available product commonly installed in conjunction with roof-top solar systems. The eGauge system consists of small “CT” collars that are clamped to circuits in your breaker box and a HomePlug adapter that connects to your home internet router and transmits collected data to Pecan Street’s secure Energy Consumption Database. The HomePlug does not interfere with your internet quality or speed. The CT collars ‘read’ the electric signal running through each circuit; they do not interfere with power supply or require that power to your house be turned off during installation. Once the CT collars are installed, the system does not require any maintenance or management. You can learn more about this product at eGauge’s website: www.egauge.net.
  • The information collected by your eGauge system will be incorporated into your Pecan Street Home Energy Portal, so you will be able to see how much electricity the different systems and appliances in your home are using in real time.

How long will I be asked to participate?

  • Each volunteer will be asked to share their Smart Meter Texas data for a two-year period. The reason Pecan Street asks for a two-year commitment is that this allows us to control for anomalies in weather patterns, human behavior, new appliance purchases, home improvements and lifestyle changes.

  • Enrollment will automatically renew unless you request to discontinue participation. While we ask for a two-year commitment, there is no penalty should you move homes during the trial or need to opt out.

What is the cost to volunteer?

  • Absolutely nothing. Enrolling with Pecan Street Inc. is totally voluntary and totally free.

What does the sign-up process require?

  • Signing-up is easy! You can enroll online at www.pecanstreet.org or call the Pecan Street office and request an enrollment form be mailed to you. Interested volunteers may visit Pecan Street’s website at www.pecanstreet.org to read more about the project or call 512-782-9213.

I’ve got more questions. Who do I call?

  • Homeowners interested in participating can contact Pecan Street anytime between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday – Friday by calling 512-782-9213 or emailing participate@pecanstreet.org. We look forward to hearing from you!