To see the results of the 2023-2024 season, click here! The Charter of French language and its regulations govern the consultation of English-language content.

All articles

Hilo challenges: We answer your questions!

October 10, 2023  4 minutes reading

Already participating in Hilo challenges? Congratulations on taking that first step. If you still have a few questions or would like to know how to reap more benefits from challenges, you’re in the right place. Follow this guide so you can manage your challenges even more easily!

When and why are challenges sent?

Hilo challenges can be sent up to 30 times between December 1 and March 31. They are held during peak periods on Hydro-Québec’s power grid, which is when everyone is using electricity at the same time. The challenges occur in three phases (pre-heating, reduction and recovery), from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. or from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., or even at both times. However, the reduction phase (which is the period when the temperature of your thermostats is reduced) only lasts four hours.

Challenges are often scheduled during periods of extreme cold because heating homes requires a lot of energy. That said, every winter is different, and there are a number of factors beyond our control that can influence the scheduling of these challenges, such as weather conditions, the state of the power grid, regional energy needs, outages, etc.

So milder winters may lead to fewer challenges.

How can I maximize my rewards?

During challenges, Hilo helps you save energy by automatically lowering the temperature of your smart thermostats in order to ease pressure on Hydro-Québec’s grid.

However, since it’s the overall energy consumption of your home that is taken into consideration when we calculate your curtailment (the energy savings realized during the reduction phase of the challenge), it’s important to reduce your home’s electricity consumption as much as possible. Delay using your electrical appliances like your oven, washing machine and dryer. If possible, you should also avoid using hot water.

If you have an electric vehicle, make sure it is recharged either before or after the challenge—the Hilo solution for electric vehicle charging is a convenient way to simplify your participation, since it automatically stops and starts recharging when challenges take place.

You should also consider exploring the different participation modes available. After all, the Hilo solution was designed to accommodate a range of preferences and lifestyles in terms of comfort. Try out Extreme or Intrepid mode to save the most energy and earn the most rewards!

For more detailed information, take a look at our article Five Golden Rules for Optimizing Your Challenges.

What is the difference between a refused and a failed challenge?

These terms may seem similar at first, but here is an explanation of what each term means.

  • Refused challenge: This is when you indicate in the application that you refuse to participate in a challenge. Participation is automatic by default, but you can always make a different decision! Our advice: Instead of refusing a challenge, make plans to participate but exclude certain thermostats so that you can maintain a comfortable temperature in one or two rooms.
  • Failed challenge: This is when you participate in a challenge, but you have surpassed your consumption limit (also called your baseline consumption). Don’t worry, failed challenges are not included in the number of refused challenges for the season.

Did you know? Last season, the average participation rate and success rate were 98% and 96% respectively. Once you get used to challenges, you’ll start to enjoy taking them.

How do I use the different settings to maintain my comfort level?

With Hilo, you have all the flexibility you need to take challenges based on your preferred lifestyle. The day before each challenge, an alert will be sent at 6 p.m., and you have until 11:59 p.m. to change the challenge parameters. You can also choose your participation mode and decide if you would like to add a pre-heating phase, in which the temperature will increase a few degrees before it falls during the reduction phase.

Not sure which of two participation modes you should try? If, for example, you are having guests over, or if your young children will be present, Moderate mode might work best. On the other hand, if everyone in the household is prepared to put an extra blanket on the bed or wear some warm pyjamas, choose Intrepid or Extreme mode. And if you won’t be at home, then Extreme mode is practically a must. Say hello to energy savings and rewards!

And don’t forget: You can also exclude a thermostat from a challenge, such as the one in the baby’s room or in the room of someone who is unwell. That’s a better option than refusing a challenge.

Why aren’t my rewards the same every time I take a challenge?

Every challenge is unique, just like the rewards you earn for them, mainly because your consumption habits, baseline consumption and overall consumption during the challenge also vary. Your result depends also on the participation mode you selected. The more kilowatt-hours you save, the bigger your reward will be!

Want to learn how we calculate your consumption? Read the details here.

My neighbour and I have identical homes. Why don’t we earn the same rewards?

Just like how no two snowflakes are the same, the energy use profiles of two homes aren’t the same either, even if they look very similar on the outside. Don’t feel discouraged by your neighbour’s performance; instead, trade tips on how you can both maximize your rewards!

Trusty tips

Our Help Centre and our blog offer lots of practical information and ideas for getting more out of your Hilo smart home and challenges. Take a look at them!