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May 26, 2014
  • Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten Energy rolls out residential demand response service in United States

‐ Agrees to partnership with ThinkEco, Inc., the firm behind the CoolNYC
energy saving program in New York ‐

Tokyo, May 26, 2014 – Rakuten, Inc. has signed an agreement with green technology company  ThinkEco, Inc. (hereafter “ThinkEco”), to collaborate on the CoolNYC energy saving program ThinkEco is running in New York City together with electricity utility Consolidated Edison, Inc (hereafter “Consolidated Edison”).

CoolNYC is an energy-saving program initiated by Consolidated Edison with New York City in 2011. The tie-up is the first time a Japanese company has offered a demand response service for residential customers in a foreign market*1. The positive reception for Rakuten Energy’s smartphone-based demand response program carried out this spring has driven the tie-up.

CoolNYC is a demand response program with the aim of reducing power demand during peaks, by enabling customers to turn down their air conditioners remotely via an AC control device. It is a rational method that does not rely on smart meters. Meanwhile, Rakuten is promoting power saving initiatives in Japan in conjunction with new power companies and Condominium Energy Management Systems aggregators using the “Smapo” and “Rakuten Check” O2O apps for use away from home. It has also been seeking a partner in demand response that would not require installation of smart meters.

The partnership came to fruition as a result of the belief that a rational residential demand response program could succeed without any requirement for smart meters. This would build on the success of the flexible CoolNYC scheme of Consolidated Edison and ThinkEco since 2011, fused with a promotion campaign to spark the interest of end users with Rakuten’s point rewards program and the kind of technology represented by smartphone apps like O2O and messaging. Future marketing for CoolNYC is expected to be carried out in conjunction with online marketing subsidiary Rakuten LinkShare, which has offices in the United States.

Through this tie-up, we plan to further boost the effectiveness of the CoolNYC program by harnessing smartphone apps, SNS, and other Rakuten Group service platforms which have witnessed dramatic growth in user numbers over the past few years. Rakuten Energy is pushing forward with globalization and development of its international business, bringing best practices from around the world promptly back to Japan and rolling out new services. By expanding the reach of its services to major Western cities in the future and improving and broadening its energy services platform, it will also be boosting the volume of total energy savings, or “negawatts.”

■Overview of ThinkEco, Inc.

Name: Thinkeco, Inc.
Established: 2008
Business fields: Solutions to promote electricity efficiency in homes, development and retailing of power monitoring, and control devices
Headquarters: New York State
Leader: CEO & Founder Jun Shimada
URL: http://www.thinkecoinc.com

■About CoolNYC

This electricity saving campaign for residential housing began in 2010 as a partnership between New York State electricity utility Consolidated Edison, Inc. and ThinkEco. In New York City, 20% of power demand in the summer is consumed by more than 6 million “window AC” units. ThinkEco distributes free SmartAC air conditioning unit control devices to its customers in New York City in order to reduce the load on the electricity system. Customers use the devices to remotely control their window AC units, turning them down to reduce demand at peak times. As SmartAC devices also allow customers to switch air conditioners on and off from outside the home, they can also reduce their power bills by controlling their electricity usage outside peak times. CoolNYC last year achieved savings of up to 27% a day, according to ThinkEco.

URL: http://www.coolnycprogram.com

*1 According to research carried out by Rakuten into services that have already been announced at the time of this release.

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