The family of voice-controlled Amazon Echo devices offers a world of instant gratification — you can play your favorite music, search the web, make calls and check the weather, all without lifting a finger. But did you know you can also use the Echo to save energy, manage your electrical service account and control systems all over your home?
Direct Energy now has its own skill for Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant. So if you’re a Direct Energy customer, you can set up the Direct Energy skill in your Alexa app and start using our new features right away. And if you’re using smart devices throughout your home, you can also use Amazon Echo commands to save energy and make your home life easier.
Don’t have an Amazon Echo device? Direct Energy can help with that, too. Direct Energy is making it possible to get an Echo Dot just by signing up for a new electricity plan. In select states, we’ll send you an Echo Dot when you sign up for our Power on Command 24 plan, which lets you lock in your fixed energy rate for two full years.
Our Texas customers also have the option to get an Echo Dot when they sign up for the Weekends on Command 24 plan, which gives you free weekend electricity from 6 p.m. on Friday through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.
Here are just a few of the things you can do with your Echo Dot:
1. Connect with Direct Energy
As a Direct Energy customer, you can ask Alexa when your bill is due and how much you owe. You can also authorize bill payments and retrieve your Refer-a-Friend code to help you earn valuable rewards. Alexa can even report your energy usage by week, month or year and tell you which appliances are using the most energy, helping you manage your household for maximum energy efficiency.
2. Adjust the Lights
Though your old light switch might get lonely, there are several smart home platforms that let you control your home lighting with Alexa. With smart outlets, you can effortlessly control plugged-in pedestal and table lamps, and some smart light bulbs allow you to use Amazon Echo commands to dim the lights to a specific level or even change the light’s color.
3. Set the Thermostat
Your HVAC unit is responsible for about 46 percent of a home’s energy use. The Department of Energy estimates savings of about 1 percent for each degree of thermostat adjustment for 8 hours, and recommends turning thermostats back 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours per day for annual savings of up to 10 percent. We recommend setting your thermostat to 78F in the summer and 68F in the winter.
By upgrading to a smart thermostat like the Hive Active Thermostat, getting comfortable is as simple as calling out your desired temperature. You can also instruct Alexa to set new heating and cooling schedules for your home.
4. Control the TV
Many of the TVs manufactured today have smart technology fully integrated, so you can tell Alexa to turn it on or off, change the channel or adjust the volume. Depending on the manufacturer, you may also be able to save energy by using Amazon Echo commands to adjust settings like decreasing screen brightness or disabling “quick-start” mode.
5. Turn on the Fan
You may already know that ceiling fans allow you to adjust the thermostat by about four degrees with no noticeable reduction in comfort. But if you’re all settled in on the couch, are you really going to get up to turn on the fan and turn down the thermostat? With smart fans and a smart thermostat, you can simply ask Alexa to do both and start saving energy instantly. Make sure to set the proper rotation direction to increase your comfort year-round: counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter.
6. Start a Bedtime Routine
If you have a bad habit of forgetting to turn off the TV or all the lights before going to bed, an Alexa routine could be your savior. Routines allow you to control several smart home devices with a single command, so you can program your Echo to shut down all energy-consuming devices with a phrase as simple as, “Alexa, good night.”
Amazon’s Alexa doesn’t just save you time; she can save you money on your electric bill as well. Set up Direct Energy’s skill in your Alexa app today, and if you don’t have an Amazon Echo device, take advantage of Direct Energy’s offer to get an Echo Dot!