Smart Grid Companies to Watch: We're down to 25 - help choose our final 13


We had 54 companies nominated for our annual Smart Grid Companies to Watch competition. After heavy voting in daily polls the past two weeks, readers narrowed the list to 25. Congratulations to our semi-finalists - click here if you'd like a flyer to post on your website or DistribuTECH booth to encourage voting.


Now we begin the final round of voting to select our 13 in 2013 finalists. The 25 companies in the running are listed in the poll in alphabetical order. Vote for the one you think has the most potential to be a 2013 smart grid superstar. Once you've voted the poll data will disappear.  If you need a refresher on any of the companies, click to page 2 where you can see the reader-submitted nomination for each one.


We'll leave the poll up until noon Pacific time on Tuesday, Feb. 5, to give everyone plenty of opportunity to vote. Feel free to use the Talk Back comment form at the bottom of the page to lobby for one of the companies.


Ambri is developing an electricity storage technology known as the liquid metal battery (LMB). The LMB is a novel approach to electricity storage and early results are very promising. The LMB was invented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the lab of Professor Donald Sadoway and inspired by the notion of reversing electrometallurgical processes that consume large quantities of electricity, like aluminum smelting, and storing that power for future use. Our goal from inception has been to create a low-cost, flexible, long-lifespan and safe electricity storage technology. Ambri’s LMB is unique amongst other electricity storage technology options. Investors include Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates and the energy company Total. In May 2012, Ambri raised a Series B round of financing for $15 million. For Ambri, 2013 is all about technology development in preparation for field demonstrations by customers of its first commercial prototypes in 2014. Ambri website>>


AutoGrid Systems-- The company’s Energy Data Platform (EDP) mines data on the physical structure of the grid, historical usage patterns and other metrics to provide utilities, grid operators, service companies and large industrial users with accurate, granular and dynamic forecasts for power consumption and availability that in turn allow them to execute demand response events, balance capacity or take other actions in real time securely and safely. The company’s Demand Response Optimization and Management System (DROMS), a cloud-based demand response service based on EDP, costs 90 percent less to implement than traditional demand response services and increases the energy yield by 30 percent. City of Palo Alto Utilities has employed DROMS to curb 1.2 megawatts from its peak loads. Other customers and partners include SAP, ARPA-E, the California Energy Commission and Sacramento Municipal Utilities District. AutoGrid Systems>>


Belden -- With products in 75 percent of the top 100 power utilities in North America, Belden has a powerful platform from which to expand in 2013. Substations are at the heart of the smart grid data collection and management activity. In the past five years, the company has acquired Hirschmann, GarrettCom and Byres Security, which complement its wire and cable division to provide a communications solution that is substation-hardened to meet the harsh conditions found in power utility T&D operations. Having spent the last year consolidating its position and bringing another two key accounts into the fold (ABB and Schneider), Belden is looking forward to 2013 where it expects to increase sales in both direct markets and through OEMs because of its substation-specific end-to-end connectivity solution and position as the only vendor-agnostic supplier of hardened communications components to substation automation manufacturing companies. Belden website>>


Ceiva -- In an industry crowded with bland in-home displays, Ceiva has entered the fray with a truly compelling offering which leverages a highly successful point of presence within the home to connect consumers to energy and water data. By working with ZigBee Smart Energy, ERTs, and Green Button data, Ceiva can present electric, gas, and water data to consumers, using either near real time data from local smart meters or historical data from the back office. Ceiva's technology focus is on delivering relevant data to consumers, whether they have Internet access or not (phone lines can be used for the cloud), and to embrace true interoperability, so that other ZigBee devices from other vendors can co-exist with Ceiva's products. This focus on delivering relevant information at a compelling price point, while avoiding the "mean time to kitchen drawer" syndrome, truly sets Ceiva apart from other display vendors in the smart energy space. Ceiva website>>


Cisco -- Cisco is seeing strong customer and partner momentum due to growing electric utility adoption of its GridBlocks architecture. They’ve established an industry leading position with grid networking solutions for standards based interoperability and cybersecurity. In addition to existing solutions for substations, distribution networks, grid operations and IT operations, this year they will be expanding their portfolio with solutions for utility operational telecom networks, incident response /workforce enablement, substation focused design suite, and additional tools for the Cisco Developer Network partners. Cisco website >>


Comverge --In 2013, Comverge will build on its momentum from 2012. Highlights from 2012 included significant new customer wins and the continued success of a historic program with Africa’s largest utility, which included the delivery of more than three gigawatt hours of energy reduction. In addition, Comverge continued to play a critical role in maintaining grid reliability, achieved significant industry milestones and brought innovative new solutions to market. On the customer success side, the company’s IntelliSOURCE platform was selected by Progress Energy Florida to help the utility manage one of the largest smart grid projects in the world. Comverge also set an industry landmark by becoming the first company to enroll one million customers into residential demand response programs. Finally, the company launched SmartPrice, its intelligent dynamic pricing solution, which secured immediate market interest with adoption by three utilities. Comverge has several exciting product launches planned for 2013 which will change the way the company is viewed by the market. Comverge website>>


DNV KEMA is the consulting company utilities turn to for creating workable roadmaps to smart grid. It also created a groundbreaking software modeling microgrids that can advise an organization on how best to invest its assets. DNV KEMA website>>


Echelon -- I have known Echelon for many years and what continues to impress me is its ability to create solid products that resonate well with the smart grid market. The company combines its history and the current market needs to create the right solution for the needs of today while they are able to scale and expand their products for the future. They understand standards, trends and customers. I suggest you all take a good look at Echelon. Read their case studies. Echelon website>>


EnerNOC is a leading provider of energy management applications for the smart grid, and is often recognized for shaking up the status quo. Through its cloud-based energy management solutions, EnerNOC empowers a new level of intelligent energy management, is a prominent advocate for practical and responsible energy legislation, and drives best practices throughout the energy management industry through its EnergySMART Conference and other modes of thought leadership. It is also one of the largest clean tech employers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. EnerNOC has much to celebrate from 2012 - the launch of a mobile app, innovation in its platform technology, significant business growth - but is set on even greater achievements in 2013. EnerNOC is focused on driving value for its customers by creating even more favorable markets for demand response and energy efficiency, harnessing the power of big data analytics to find energy savings, and developing the technology that will transform the way people manage energy. EnerNOC website>>


FirstFuel is one of the pioneers in delivering measurable and scalable commercial building energy efficiency savings. They work directly with large utilities to identify operational EE savings in commercial buildings that can be implemented at little to no cost. We believe that they will transform how utilities engage commercial customers in 2013. Utilities and government agencies deploying FirstFuel’s platform have seen 6-8x improvements in energy efficiency cycle times, an 80-90 percent decrease in building analysis costs, and an average of 15-20 percent savings opportunities per building. FirstFuel is financially stable - raising $12.4M in funding from prominent clean tech investors Rockport Capital, Battery Ventures and Nth Power and has signed several strategic partnerships, including becoming the first remote audit and energy analytics application available in Johnson Control Panoptix application marketplace. FirstFuel website>>


Harris Utilities -- For more than 35 years at Harris Utilities we have based our business strategy on developing products to meet the needs of utility companies across North America and the Caribbean. Our plans for 2013 include significant focus on refinements to our flagship products: MeterSense, our scalable, configurable and powerful meter data management application, and CustomerConnect, our robust, yet intuitive customer engagement solution. We will launch new versions of each in the first quarter of this year that will greatly enhance performance and functionality. MeterSense in particular will be augmented by the addition of more powerful analytics tools, an improved user interface and reporting and scalability improvements, while CustomerConnect will offer new modules that enable utilities and their customers to interact in increasingly sophisticated ways. Already, both products enjoy significant market shares. Harris Utilities website>>


ISA Sensing -- I would like to nominate ISA because of their breakthrough efforts in bringing down the cost of residential submetering. Their concept of having a Smart Home for the Smart Grid has been paying off, with their Cloogy line of products now capable of providing valuable information to the grid that nicely complements the information coming out of the smart meter. By bringing the per-home cost of a Home Energy Management System to around 100 euros, ISA has made it cost effective to make hundreds of thousands of individual homes cooperate with the smart grid, tuning the consumption according to the energy availability. ISA Sensing website >>


IUS Technologies -- At IUS Technologies, they are innovators. They develop groundbreaking smart sensors ideal for end of line monitoring, which will enable utilities to optimize to a more efficient electric grid. Their VS series of devices are like nothing else on the market today - both the VS 1000 and VS 3000 sensors streamline the use of utility radio bandwidth, reducing communication loads up to 95%, and with up to 0.3% accuracy. Although this in itself saves considerable time, bandwidth and resources - it is the precision, accuracy and cost which make IUS unique. There is no other sensor on the market that provides this level of accuracy with the low cost of ownership. It is this scale which will allow utilities to place sensors approximately every mile as necessary in order to create an extremely stable and reliable grid. Recently launched, IUS Technologies is a subsidiary of the Korean based Vitzro Group and headquartered in Alpharetta, GA. IUS Technologies website >>


PayGo - I think that 2013 will be a year where we need to continue to win customer acceptance for smart grid investments. PayGo systems provide customers with more control over their energy usage, increased payment options and both the ability and the tools to reduce energy consumption. PayGo provides integrated payment solutions leveraging smart meter deployments through cloud-based applications; applications which enable prepay and postpaid meter to cash services and patent pending technologies leveraging the increasing distributed "real time” intelligence capability of today's smart meters. For the utility, PayGo solutions leverage existing investments in smart grid, provide a strong business case (both operational benefits and cost reductions), true meter to cash solutions and a technology platform for future applications. PayGo website >>


Power Analytics -- Continuing on the success of 2012, 2013 will be another banner year for Power Analytics. Power Analytics was just recently selected to provide the first managed cluster of microgrids in a military environment by ESTCP (DoD's environmental technology demonstration and validation program established in 1995 to promote the transfer of innovative technologies that have successfully established proof of concept to field or production use). 2013 will be the beginning of the microgrid cluster concept at three naval bases in San Diego, CA. Under new leadership of CEO Michael J. Nark, an aggressive marketing campaign will branch out into multiple market segments clamoring for smart grid technologies. Power Analytics plans to do even more with strategic partners and technology enabling companies this year. On a technical front, Power Analytics will continue to release enhanced versions of software. Power Analytics website >>


Pulse Energy is an energy information software company based out of Vancouver, BC. They work with electricity and natural gas utilities to help them boost customer satisfaction, achieve energy efficiency targets and promote utility programs. They do this by providing easy and reliable energy intelligence for large commercial buildings and SMB customers, transforming their consumption data into actionable information, which is delivered through web portals, email and direct mail. Their data platform is built for utility-grade security and scalability, and leads the industry in whole building analytics. In 2012 the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab published a groundbreaking study of the Pulse Adaptive Model, which is capable of forecasting building energy usage. Pulse has a growing utility customer base in North America and currently works with Duke Energy, PG&E, BC Hydro and FortisBC. They are under contract to grow their end user customer base by a further 15,000 accounts in the first half of 2013. Pulse Energy website >>


Schneider Electric is positioned to improve the efficiency of mission critical infrastructures - making the grid more efficient, flexible, and secure from control center to customer. Schneider Electric’s recent completion of the Telvent brand integration and partnership with IPKeys demonstrates the company's commitment to enable the smart grid and provide customers with end-to-end solutions that reach beyond the meter. In the coming year, Schneider Electric will move forward with deploying Smart City Solutions for targeted metro areas enabling cities to make needed infrastructure investments funded by cost reduction delivered through optimized, smarter, more efficient infrastructure solutions. Additionally, Schneider Electric will focus on delivering distribution grid automation and energy efficiency solutions for utilities, to improve safety and reliability for their customers and allow them see up-to-date power use and pricing data which enables them to make smarter energy management decisions. On the residential side, Schneider Electric will place an expanded focus on residential energy management. Schneider Electric website >>


Sensus is leading the way for a NEW smart grid: one for water. In a groundbreaking 2012 survey of more than 180 utilities, Sensus found utilities are losing $9.6 billion each year from leaked water and utilities worldwide can save up to $12.5 billion a year by implementing a smart water network. Sensus continues to lead with products and solutions to meet the crisis head-on and by identifying the opportunity and a path toward a solution to justify the investments by engaging a wide array of stakeholders to safeguard the supply of clean water - including utilities and municipalities, regulators, investors, industry associations, technology providers and academia.Sensus is certainly worth watching in 2013 as the world grapples with how to handle access to water. Sensus website >>


Space-Time Insight -- Now more than ever, an ability to quickly understand and embrace all the factors impacting power generation, transmission and distribution is absolutely vital. This has been, and continues to be, the driving mission behind Space-Time Insight’s suite of situational intelligence solutions for utilities. Specifically designed to help organizations harness the ever-growing volumes of "big data” essential to real-time operations, Space-Time Insight’s software incorporates innovative geospatial and visual analytics that are empowering organizations like the California ISO, Southern California Edison, Hydro One and other major utilities around the globe to anticipate, correlate and respond in real-time to daily operational challenges and crisis situations. In 2013, the company plans to add even richer visualization and analytical capabilities to its big data analytics software and further leverage its technology partnerships to help utilities get their arms around the big data that goes hand-in-hand with big industry evolution. Space-Time Insight website >>


Structure has been and continues to be a partner of OG&E for our Smart Grid program. From the beginning, Structure has brought skilled resources with deep expertise to assist with a variety of tasks. Including: developing our business case, managing our program, subject matter expertise in DMS, DA, and Demand Response. During our partnership with Structure there are two things I have come to appreciate. The first is that they truly partner with OG&E and always act in our best interest. Second is that they bring innovative ideas to the table that are not recycled from other projects. The work on our demand reduction projects is truly innovative. Structure website >>


TempoDB will be a 2013 Smart Grid Superstar because they finally allow utilities and enterprises to store ALL of their smart grid measurement data at full resolution forever. No more downsampling, selective sampling, or throwing data away: TempoDB is the only time series database service for connected devices and smart meter data. Store as much high resolution (1 ms max) time series data as needed for fast long range historical analysis. TempoDB storage scales automatically and data is never downsampled or archived, so no detail is lost. TempoDB is cloud infrastructure-as-a-service, and does not supply hardware or front end visualizations; it is the backend database purpose-built for the speed and scale of smart meter data and connected devices. TempoDB website >>


Tollgrade Communications -- Whether it’s providing fault information to more quickly dispatch crews, recording load logging information to balance distribution networks or substations, or gaining proactive intelligence to optimize efficiency, Tollgrade is helping utilities solve the real-world challenges that impact the reliability of the distribution grid. Tollgrade has been one of the best kept secrets in the smart grid and is just beginning to emerge as a break-out company in 2013 with successful pilots running at over six of North America’s largest utilities including Duke, Toronto Hydro and CenterPoint. The addressable market for the solution grows with deployments beginning in South America, the UK and Europe. The company is seeing an increased demand for pilots and is on track to double their revenue in just the first half of 2013. Backed by the financial strength of a multi-billion dollar private equity firm, Tollgrade can continue to increase its market presence and product portfolio in the smart grid space in 2013. Tollgrade Communications website >>


Trilliant remains at the forefront of the smart grid industry with new projects, deployments and services. In 2012, the company continued on its path to global expansion with smart grid successes in Asia and Latin America. It made considerable headway in the Latin American market with a partnership with ELO Sistemas Eletrônicos, a leading metering technology provider based in Brazil. 2012 was a milestone year for Trilliant in terms of its offerings. Early in the year, the company debuted the revolutionary Trilliant Communications Platform, a solution purpose-built for utilities and energy retailers. Trilliant is clearly poised for even greater success in 2013. Trilliant will continue its progress with respect to customer successes, global expansion, thought leadership, and continued innovation. The company already has plans for new solutions to best meet its customers’ needs and further expansion into global territories like Asia, Latin America and the UK. Trilliant website >>


Ventyx-- Over the past 12 months, we’ve witnessed significant - and growing - momentum in the adoption of Ventyx’s smart grid solutions worldwide. For example, a $7 million deal inked with Eskom - Africa's biggest electricity supplier - will be the largest implementation of Ventyx’s SCADA/DMS solutions in that country. Other significant multimillion-dollar deals include the grid-reliability project at the Dubai Airport, the rehabilitation of power distribution networks in Iraq, and important new programs with utilities across Latin America. IDC Energy Insights named Ventyx a leader in the North American DMS market. Said IDC, "Ventyx has been at the forefront of integrating IT and operations technology, which allows its customers to extract greater value across these normally segregated systems...” Other noteworthy developments include the appointment of 33-year software veteran Jeff Ray as Ventyx CEO, as well as ABB’s acquisition of wireless network provider Tropos. The combination of technology breadth and strength, broad vision and management expertise certainly make ABB+Ventyx a company worth watching in 2013. Ventyx website >>



Verdeeco is a start-up based in Atlanta which has been quietly accumulating utility clients in 2012. Six mid-market utilities have signed on to Verdeeco's cloud-based, SAAS data management and analytics platform or Grid-As-A-Service. Recently, Verdeeco was voted by rural utility representatives as the #1 Vendor to Watch in 2013 at the Rural Smart Grid Summit for the second year in a row. Verdeeco has been working to build a solid customer base and platform and extend our menu of analytic applications our customers are finding value in. 2013 will be the year that Verdeeco will be hitting the market hard with its message and service. No hype here, just execution. Utilities are in production with our Transformer Utilization product and we are working with Georgia Tech University to build a powerful prediction engine to detect approaching thermal failure as well as financial models to redeploy underutilized assets. Verdeeco website >>


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