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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 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.

Smart grid customer engagement: Lessons from Denmark

smart grid, smart grid technology, consumer engagement, home energy management, smart grid demonstration projects
It’s often said electricity customers only care about costs and aren’t really motivated by anything else. But, surprise, a new smart grid demonstration project in Denmark is proving otherwise. Project managers are finding money isn’t the only motivator: many end-users want better home energy management technology, not just cheap power.

Revisiting the 10 top home energy trends for 2013

smart grid, smart grid technology, home energy management, smart grid trends
About a year ago, guest author Louis Szablya shared his predictions for the 10 most important home energy developments we could expect to see in 2013. Now, he’s back with a report card on how he fared with those predictions.

Grid-connected appliances... still such a bad idea

smart grid, smart grid technology, grid-connected appliances, smart appliances, smart grid trends, markets, electric utilities
With the holiday season comes all kinds of new products and gizmos for consumers, including smart appliances. But we still wonder how manufacturers expect to crack the market when smart appliance costs outweigh the slim number of benefits they offer.

What’s to come: the IoT’s role in smart grid evolution

smart grid, smart grid technology, Internet of Things, IoT, smart homes
Guest author Kristopher Ardis of Maxim Integrated has covered a lot of ground in his series Silicon, Security, the Internet of Things and the Smart Grid. In this final installment, he takes on two possible smart grid IoT implementation scenarios we may see in the near future.

The 3 reasons “smart” appliances are still too dumb

Smart grid, smart grid technology, smart appliances, smart grid strategy, electric utilities
Do you really want a refrigerator that streams music? Or would you rather have one that will alert you when food is about to spoil? That’s one example guest author Christian DeFeo uses to illustrate why smart appliances have a long way to go before they can truly improve the lives of people who use them. They just aren’t smart enough yet.

A thermostat smarter than a power engineer (yes, it's the Nest)

Smart grid, smart grid technology, home energy management, Nest thermostat, EnerNex, consumer engagement
When a new home energy management service or device comes along, we typically write about what it does and whether it may or may not catch on with customers. But we rarely get to share a user response, let alone one from a top power engineer who has one (OK, two) in his home.

Are smart homes a security threat to electric power utilities?

Smart grid, smart grid technologies, smart homes, security, electric utilities
Smart grid security isn’t just about control centers, substations and transmission and distribution networks. It’s also about grid-connected devices you might not think about, like those used for home automation. Read the story to find out why utilities need to be absolutely sure those devices are secure too.

Memo to utilities: Home energy management gradually becoming the norm

Smart grid, smart grid technology, smart homes, home energy management, smart grid markets and pricing, electric utilities, standards
Here's a little tip for the electric power industry: home energy management is going mainstream. And with that in mind, we can only hope the industry will develop standards to ensure the devices can communicate with the local utility.

World's 2nd most important smart grid pilot expands to second phase

Smart grid, smart grid technology, smart grid demos and pilots, renewable energy, demand response, energy storage
Holland's PowerMatching City smart grid pilot has just begun its second phase with pilots in two additional Dutch cities. We've got an update for you inside.

Smart homes for the smart grid

Smart grid, smart grid technology, smart homes, consumer engagement, energy savings, home energy management
Numerous surveys have said smart grid hasn't caught on with most people. So, how do you get them to change their minds and see the benefits? For People Power CEO Gene Wang the answer is give them something they will fall in love with and use every day – and he thinks the smart home market could be the place to do it.

Future of electric power: Net zero homes get a step closer

net zero homes, Ford Motor MyEnergi Lifestyle, KB Home ZeroHouse 2.0, smart home, home energy management
Ford Motor Company has teamed with a major homebuilder to showcase EVs, solar power systems and smart appliances at a net zero model home in San Marcos, California. Net zero homes aren't a new concept, but the day a substantial number of homes have both solar and EVs will be yet another game-changer for utilities. Find out why.

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