One of the largest retail energy suppliers in North America, Direct Energy, has announced a partnership with Nest, the smart thermostat. The deal is designed to encourage adoption of Direct Energy’s service as well as the smart home device in the U.S.
The partnership will focus on offering incentives to customers who purchase Direct Energy utility services, an arrangement similar to the one launched in Alberta, Canada, earlier this year.
Direct Energy’s “Comfort & Control Plan with Direct Energy” program in Canada allowed a customer to sign up for a five-year electricity contract and then receive the Nest device free of charge (the Nest normally retails for $249).
“Through this [U.S.] partnership, Direct Energy will make available to residential electric service customers an offer that includes a combination of the Nest Learning Thermostat and a fixed per kwh [kilowatt hour] rate for electricity, and for a designated time period,” a Direct Energy spokesperson told Mashable. “The specific details of the customer offer are still being finalized.”
According to Direct Energy’s website, the company provides energy services to 46 states in the U.S. (as well as the District of Columbia), and 10 Canadian provinces, a service footprint that includes six million customers.
“Following our successful partnership with Direct Energy in Alberta, Canada, we are excited to expand the relationship and bring our energy-savings solution to even more people across North America,” said Ben Bixby, general manager of Nest Energy Services, in a statement.
Acquired by Google back in February, Nest’s ability to penetrate the U.S. home market will likely get a boost from large scale partnerships like the one with Direct Energy, a dynamic that could make “smart homes” a more common phenomenon sooner than some might expect.
The Nest/Direct Energy program is scheduled to launch in the U.S. by June 1.