PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Ameren is offering its customers a free smart thermostat to help save on energy costs this winter.

Customers can order a free Google Nest Thermostat online through December 31. The device connects to your HVAC system through Wi-Fi and is programmable from your phone. You can even set it on a schedule.

“So we’re trying to find ways to help our customers manage their energy usage, reduce their energy and just have more control over their home to keep it comfortable in the winter time. It’s getting pretty cold this week and a smart thermostat is a great tool to help you lower your energy usage,” said Angie Ostaszewski, energy efficiency consultant at Ameren.

Tyler Barron, policy advocate at Illinois Environmental Law Policy Center, an environmental legal advocacy organization, said using the Nest thermostat will help save about 10 to 12 percent on your energy bill this winter.

“So it comes from the fact that you’re reducing unnecessary energy usage, so you’re setting a comfort temperature and so if you’re away from your home, you’re not heating an empty home… But you’re also setting a comfort temperature that isn’t too high or too low depending on if it’s too hot or too cold outside. So what you’re ending up doing is using less energy in order to heat your home more efficiently,” he said.

Ostaszewski said her favorite feature is the thermostat’s eco-mode.

“It’s like a set it and forget it and it will set it to an energy saving temperature for you, so you don’t have to think about what should [you] set it to,” she said.

Ostaszewski said Ameren, an energy supplier, is prepared to meet increased demand this winter.

“Anytime we’re expecting like inclement weather, we mobilize all of our teams. We have a lot of prep as a company to make sure that our grid is ready…We deliver the energy at no markup to the customer, but we still want to offer more tools like the smart thermostat to help you manage your usage, especially as it’s getting colder. We really hope that this offering can help show customers that they’re in power to control their energy usage,” she said.

To receive the free thermostat, Ameren customers are instructed to fill out an online application on Ameren’s website. Delivery will take up to two weeks.