[RFI, Beta-Test] Request for information/requirements and Beta Testers for Demand Manager Smart App

What features would you like to see in a electricity demand management Smart App? I am looking for requirements suggestions and a beta tester or two for a Smart App focused on managing peak electric utility demand usage. This smart app is designed for those wishing to save money on their electric bill with utility companies that levy demand charges.

I’m not sure how many users will actually have a requirement for this, but I wrote the initial application to manage my own electricity demand and I am hopeful it will be useful for a few of you out there.

More information (and more information to come) at DarwinsDen.com/demand.

The app will continuously monitor your home’s electric usage and calculate current and projected demand usage for 30 or 60-minute demand cycles. Based on your preferences, you can receive real-time notifications and automatically control thermostats and other devices in order to reduce peak demand costs and reduce your electric bill.

This smart app is currently in development in the Alpha release/prototype phase. Not all features have been fully tested. If you would like to be a beta tester, provide input on feature recommendations, or to just simply try the app for personal use, please contact me via the DarwinsDen.com website’s contact form, with a comment below, or via a private message.

Warning: The app allows for optional control of your thermostat cooling set point - so even on normal operations you may see unexpectedly high home temperatures depending on your app config and pre-cooling set-up. There are also temperature risks due to potential stability issues in the prototype app code, with the SmartThings cloud, device handlers, or other network issues, so I’m also hoping to hear suggestions on how I and others might help manage these kind of risks. There is currently a preference setting for a maximum cooling temperature setpoint that can be set by the smart app in normal operations.

There’s no cost for the app and no requirements to provide feedback after you receive it, but considering the its current prototype I stage (and my concerns in making sure the temperature related risks to people, pets, and personal property are understood), I am currently only providing the software on request. Also considering the current lack of complete documentation I’m hoping to ensure there is a path for direct feedback if there are questions or issues during this initial testing and requirements gathering phase.

Thank you!


  • Monitor and display your electric utility demand usage data in real-time.
  • Automatically turn on and off devices in your home and adjust your home thermostat cooling temperature based on your demand goal and real-time demand projections.
  • Get notified when you’re approaching your demand goal limit via your mobile device or indicator devices that can be placed throughout your home.
  • Customize a 30 or 60-minute demand target to meet your specific goals.
  • Set a demand management schedule based on your utility’s peak usage hours.
  • Let your family know whether you are in a peak utility period via simple red/green indicator lights that can be placed at any power outlet.
  • Display the current power output of your solar array using LED level indicator devices.
  • Create optional virtual demand meters for display on dashboards such as ActionTiles™.
  • Pre-cool your home on scheduled peak utility days.
  • Monitor your solar array inverter production for improved predictive demand projections

Required Hardware

  • SmartThings Hub
  • Whole Home Energy Meter

Comments, suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Screen Shots

Thank you to those that have provided feedback so far for this app. I’ve updated the app to version 0.2 that includes several bug fixes and improved threading/performance, as well as watchdog timers to better handle unexpected platform and app issues. The app is available from the same link location as before. To update, you should be able to paste in the updated code in the SmartThings IDE and “publish for me”. There is no need to update the child device handlers from their original versions. For more information, or if your utility has recently added demand management incentives and you would like to give the app a try, see: https://darwinsden.com/demand.

I’ve been running this app now for almost a year and estimate I’ve saved close to $150 in demand charges on my SRP electric utility bill using the Customer Generation Demand Price Plan.

Since I originally started using the app, I’ve also added a PowerWall home battery to my solar/grid tied system. The PowerWall has for the most part squashed my electric demand during peak hours, but I’ve found that the battery is not always immediately responsive to my home usage. I’m continuing to use this app with the PowerWall, but can now dial down my demand goal from around 2 kW to 200 W. The app now only really needs to kick in if the battery is slow to react to my home usage, or if we accidentally exceed the capabilities of the battery, by say, running the AC, microwave and toaster oven concurrently. I found that with home battery storage in the mix, it is no longer necessary to allow a steadily increasing cooling set-point to manage demand, and so I’ve added a new option to the app to return the AC set-point back to a default temperature after the end of each utility demand cycle (30 or 60 minutes depending on your utility).

The app’s main focus is still on air conditioner cooling set-point management, but I am considering adding heating set-point controls for additional demand management options.

v0.2.2 Updates:

  • Added option to trigger peak periods based on Griddy or ComEd real-time energy price thresholds
  • Added ability to use the Tesla Powerwall as your home energy meter and solar power production meter
  • Added support for additional devices that can be managed based on peak period status and/or home real-time power demand