Stories & Features

Your smart speaker is about to get a whole lot smarter

Image of a Google Home smart speaker
"Hey Google, help me manage my energy use." In our upcoming smart speaker trial, you'll be able to turn to your virtual assistant for advice on how to reduce your consumption and save on your bills.

If you already own a smart speaker, be sure to sign up for our new energy management trial

In a world where technology is constantly at our fingertips, evolving and changing to meet our everyday needs (and wants!), we're looking for new ways that technology can help reduce electricity use across the province.

Smart speakers, like the Google Home or Amazon Echo, can do everything from creating your online shopping list to playing your favourite playlist. In our smart speaker trial, we're aiming to help you reduce your energy usage and save on your bills through your virtual assistant.

How does it work?

You might be wondering how exactly your virtual assistant or speaker is going to help manage your energy use when, after all, they're using energy, too.

Once your smart speaker is connected to your BC Hydro account and MyHydro, you'll be able to ask it about your usage, your bill, personalized savings recommendations, rebates that are currently available and more. With the newfound data on your energy habits, you can target areas where you might need a little extra help. Here's a small sampling of some questions you could ask your smart speaker during the trial:

  • What did I use on heating this month?
  • Am I on track to meet my energy conservation targets?
  • How does my usage compare to my neighbours?
  • What are some ways I can lower my bill?
  • How much power did I use compared to last winter?

In particular, your smart speaker will be able to break down your energy usage into categories, so you can see whether you're using the most electricity to power lighting and appliances, heat hot water, heat and cool your home, or power your "baseline" load of items that are always on, such as your fridge.

Consider other ways your smart speaker can help you save energy

Both Google Home and Amazon Echo have the ability to connect with other smart products that you may have within your home – your TV, lighting, and even your thermostat. Don't forget to use these features to find ways that you can save energy.

Connected devices allow you to customize commands to control the energy use in your home with ease. Take advantage of features like shortcuts on the Google Home. With shortcuts, you can say, "Hey Google, goodnight," to turn off all the lights in your home. Amazon Echo's Alexa takes similar commands such as, "Alexa, turn the thermostat to 18 degrees Celsius".

Another important feature to consider is setting reminders and timers. If you don't own smart products that can connect with your smart speaker, both Alexa and Google can remind you to do things that will help you save, like turning down the thermostat at bedtime or turning off the lights when you leave for work.

By combining the features of smart speakers with personalized recommendations on how to reduce your usage based on your habits, technology can be your best friend when it comes to your next electricity bill.

Trial details and how to sign up

  • We're seeking 1,000 participants from across the province to take part in the trial from November 15, 2018 until October 31, 2020.
  • Participants need to already own an Amazon Echo or Google Home.
  • Register here to participate in the smart speaker trial.