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Household appliances (heating and cooling systems, refrigerators, electronics, hair dryers) account for 60 to 90 percent of the residential electricity consumption in the U.S., depending on whose reports you read. More and more of those appliances are becoming “grid-aware” and gaining the ability to monitor and report their own usage and to increase or decrease their electricity usage by remote command.

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How the evolving utility-customer relationship is changing home energy management

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy management, electric utility strategies
More consumers are becoming aware of energy efficiency and managing their energy use. While that can certainly be considered progress, the trend also attracted a new set of competitors for utilities. Guest author Jenny Roehm provides an overview, as well as recommendations for how utilities can counter that competition.

Irish utility partners with Nest to offer free thermostats to new customers

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, Google, Nest, home energy management, electric utilities
Despite the substantial amount of debate and concern in energy industry circles over Google’s purchase of Nest and what it could mean for the future of utilities, an Irish utility has taken a different tack and partnered with the company to offer the smart thermostats free to new customers when they sign up.

Texas is forcing utilities to give home energy monitors to the poor

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy monitors, policy and regulation, home energy management, electric utilities
Texas regulators want utilities to provide low-income customers with ways to reduce their energy bills. Most observers take that to mean smart thermostats or home energy monitors. But home energy monitors have never gone over well with the public. Isn’t there a better use of the money allocated to help the state’s low income customers? Click for more details on the issue.

The 5 testing steps that allow utilities to roll out smart devices with confidence

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid devices, smart meters, connected home, home energy management, product testing, electric utilities
As utilities roll out new technologies, they sometimes find problems after the initial installations. That mistake can be costly and the negative publicity damaging. Guest contributor Angus Panton offers guidance to help utilities ensure that doesn’t happen: advance testing methods that can spot problems in meters and other devices before they’re delivered to customers.

The 4 priorities that allow utilities to profit from the connected home market

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy management, smart homes, connected homes, smart grid strategy, customer engagement, electric utilities
New technologies are frequently viewed with suspicion in the utility industry. Consider the developing “connected home” market as an example. Guest contributor Angus Panton makes the case that the new market offers substantial growth opportunities for utilities… as long as they attend to four key issues early on.

Home energy management systems get another chance (in Massachusetts)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy management, CEIVA, National Grid, smart grid research and development, Worcester, MA
While home energy management devices are nowhere near as popular as we expected them to be years ago, National Grid is going to make a go of it with CEIVA at its smart grid test bed project in Worcester, Massachusetts. Click to learn more about the project.

Smart grid advice from SMUD (Home gateways? Really?)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home area networks, home gateways, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, electric utilities
Several utilities have walked away from home gateways, turned off by the expense and what they saw as minimal advantages. But according to the head of smart grid project management for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, they do have benefits – for both utilities and their customers.

5 companies that plan to put utilities out of business

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart homes, home energy management, smart grid trends, electric utilities
Several major companies with ambitions to branch out into other markets (like Google, Comcast and AT&T) are snaring utility revenue with their home energy management offerings. As you read about the five examples in the story, keep in mind that there are many, many smaller companies with the same game plan.

What the race to control the home means to utilities (it ain't pretty)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home automation, home energy management, smart homes, electric utilities
Several of the largest technology companies are jumping into the home automation market, and all are determined to come out on top. Why should utilities care? Because each of them will include home energy management features in their offerings, and will be exploring partnerships that open the door for them to push new energy services… and cut utilities out of the picture.

Smart grid markets: Substantial growth expected for several sectors

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid markets, home energy management, electric vehicles, smart cities, distribution automation, smart grid projects
Filtering through the massive quantity of smart grid market research reports to find what you’re looking for can be frustrating. Click to read a selection of interesting reports in smart cities, home energy management, distribution automation and other smart grid sectors.

Now Honda wants to put utilities out of business? Its new home makes more energy than it uses

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy management systems, rooftop solar, electric vehicles, net zero energy, smart homes, Honda, electric utilities
Net zero energy buildings are one thing. But Honda is taking the concept a step further. Its smart home combines net zero energy housing, electric vehicle transportation and rooftop solar to create more energy than it uses. Click for details on the project and the technologies involved.

How Google's disdain for utilities could ruin its Nest acquisition

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid strategy, smart grid markets, Google, Nest, energy storage,
When Google attempted to move into the home energy management space a few years ago, it first tried to work with utilities but rejected that approach when it decided utilities were too balkanized. Guest author Tom Osterhus explains in detail why that may have been a bad strategy. And he has several insights to share about energy storage and time-of-use pricing.

Why Opower's IPO is so important to all of us

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy management, Opower, markets and pricing
When Opower launched its IPO on April 4, share prices jumped during the first day of trading. While that’s certainly great news for Opower and the home energy management sector, it’s also very good news for the industry overall. Click for details and what the IPO could mean for the industry’s future.

Why it may soon be easier to connect meters back to the utility (a new standard)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid standards, Zigbee, Zigbee Alliance, neighborhood area networks, home area networks, smart meters, electric utilities
While Zigbee is a top standard for linking smart meters to home area networks and from that point to in-home energy monitors, no single standard for connecting the meter back to the utility has been available. Now the Zigbee Alliance is working with a team of smart grid vendors to meet that need. Read the story for details.

What Google's NEST acquisition could mean for utilities (and it's good news)

smart grid, smart grid technology, mergers and acquisitions, Google, Nest, Google Nest acquisition, strategy, markets and pricing, electric utilities
Google’s NEST acquisition took a lot of people by surprise and most of the talk has zeroed in on what it means for Google and its competitors. But guest author Ron Chebra digs deeper to explain how the acquisition will affect utilities… and he identifies several ways utilities could cash in.

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