The concept is that people are not always at home and they also sleep, so you program your thermostat to your advantage. For example, if no one is home from 9-5, the thermostat can be turned down from 9-4:30. Then, as well, it can also be turned down while sleeping. I think many people actually sleep better in a cooler temperature. The point behind programmable thermostats is that how you program it is up to you. You can set it at any temperature that works to your advantage.
I used the below chart to come to the figure in the title. Annual savings of $365.00 a year and of course this will vary depending on how you set your thermostat.
You can spend a lot or a little for a thermostat. I saw them online from anywhere between $25.00 and $125.00. These costs should be easily recouped in the first year. There are a lot of videos on youtube for how to program them. Here is another article for a few pointers:
So, you may be able to get more than an .18 hour a raise depending on your climate and how well you program your thermostat. Once again, an easy and relatively inexpensive way to save money with little time or money! Tax Free!