Smart grid needs a dose of social networking  

Posted by Big Gav in

CNet has an article on techniques for encouraging greater customer engagement with reducing their energy usage - Smart grid needs a dose of social networking.

Many companies have developed in-home energy displays, which are sometimes distributed as part of utility smart-grid programs, to give people a real-time view of their electricity consumption. Displays or Web dashboards can help consumers find places where they are wasting energy or make changes to be more efficient, studies have shown.

But there's a growing concern that smart-grid programs, as they are conceived now, won't be enough to get utility customers actively engaged in managing home energy. As one indicator, the Smart Grid Consumer Coalition was founded last month to study ways consumers can learn about the benefits of a modernized power grid.

Earlier this week, GroundedPower submitted comments to the California Public Utilities Commission, which is considering requirements for upcoming smart-grid programs. The crux of GroundedPower's comments is that people are motivated by more than utility prices, which is primarily how regulators are seeking to encourage people to conserve and use electricity at off-peak times.

"When you come into this, you think that it's all about money but it's not," said David Rosi, the senior vice president of marketing, sales, and business development at GroundedPower. "Many people are focused on the environment, competition, peer comparisons, learning, rewards--you need to take many things into consideration."

The social-networking aspects of GroundedPower's application, drawn from one of the founders' experience with a smoking cessation Web site, are geared at getting recommendations and sharing tips with people in similar situations, explained Rosi. For example, a person could commit to changing how they wash clothes and share ideas or compete with others on an overall reduction. ...

Rather than only display historical energy data, GroundedPower's Web application lets people walk through an online audit and set goals that they commit to. After that, they can monitor their progress either through the Web application or other device, such as a smart phone. The small Glance device only shows green, orange, or red--no consumption information--to indicate whether people are on plan or need to make changes.

In its initial test in Cape Cod with about 100 people, it found that people logged in between two and a half and three times a week, although they tended to use it more in the summer when electricity bills were higher, said Rosi. An audit found that the energy savings was 10 percent compared to a prior year's bills, he said.

The system can work with other smart-grid devices, such as smart meters or two-way thermostats that let people remotely control their appliances. But the reductions in the first trial were entirely based on behavior changes, Rosi said. Electricity usage data is collected from the meters that let utilities get drive-by readings or with dedicated gateway devices.

There are other companies that also emphasize recommendations to utility customers. OPower creates personalized reports, which give people an idea of how efficient their homes are compared to people in similar situations. There are also Web-based applications, such as Microsoft Hohm, which allow people to create a home efficiency plan and generate recommendations.


Agree 100% there is more than just money that consumers are looking for. They are also interested in information that will help people change their behavior. As more AMI meters are placed in the residential market and energy monitoring interface that consumer can use are found in homes there will be more information posted on the internet. This information along with educational sites that are really educational micro sites will raise consumer adoption.

Right now the industry is just taking baby steps along the journey.

Post a Comment


Locations of visitors to this page

blogspot visitor
Stat Counter

Total Pageviews




Blog Archive


australia (617) global warming (421) solar power (396) peak oil (353) renewable energy (301) electric vehicles (249) wind power (194) ocean energy (165) csp (158) geothermal energy (144) solar thermal power (144) energy storage (142) smart grids (140) solar pv (138) tidal power (137) oil (136) coal seam gas (131) nuclear power (128) china (118) lng (116) iraq (113) geothermal power (112) green buildings (111) natural gas (110) agriculture (92) oil price (80) biofuel (78) wave power (73) smart meters (72) coal (69) uk (69) electricity grid (67) energy efficiency (64) google (58) bicycle (51) internet (51) surveillance (50) big brother (49) shale gas (49) food prices (48) tesla (46) thin film solar (42) biomimicry (40) canada (40) scotland (38) ocean power (37) politics (37) shale oil (37) new zealand (35) air transport (34) algae (34) water (34) arctic ice (33) concentrating solar power (33) queensland (32) saudi arabia (32) california (31) credit crunch (31) bioplastic (30) offshore wind power (30) population (30) cogeneration (28) geoengineering (28) batteries (26) drought (26) resource wars (26) woodside (26) bruce sterling (25) censorship (25) cleantech (25) ctl (23) limits to growth (23) carbon tax (22) economics (22) exxon (22) lithium (22) buckminster fuller (21) distributed manufacturing (21) iraq oil law (21) coal to liquids (20) indonesia (20) origin energy (20) brightsource (19) rail transport (19) ultracapacitor (19) santos (18) ausra (17) collapse (17) electric bikes (17) michael klare (17) atlantis (16) cellulosic ethanol (16) iceland (16) lithium ion batteries (16) mapping (16) ucg (16) bees (15) concentrating solar thermal power (15) ethanol (15) geodynamics (15) psychology (15) al gore (14) brazil (14) bucky fuller (14) carbon emissions (14) fertiliser (14) ambient energy (13) biodiesel (13) cities (13) investment (13) kenya (13) matthew simmons (13) public transport (13) biochar (12) chile (12) desertec (12) internet of things (12) otec (12) texas (12) victoria (12) big oil (11) cradle to cradle (11) energy policy (11) hybrid car (11) terra preta (11) tinfoil (11) toyota (11) amory lovins (10) antarctica (10) fabber (10) gazprom (10) goldman sachs (10) gtl (10) severn estuary (10) volt (10) afghanistan (9) alaska (9) biomass (9) carbon trading (9) distributed generation (9) esolar (9) four day week (9) fuel cells (9) jeremy leggett (9) methane hydrates (9) pge (9) sweden (9) arrow energy (8) bolivia (8) eroei (8) fish (8) floating offshore wind power (8) guerilla gardening (8) linc energy (8) methane (8) nanosolar (8) natural gas pipelines (8) pentland firth (8) relocalisation (8) saul griffith (8) stirling engine (8) us elections (8) western australia (8) airborne wind turbines (7) bloom energy (7) boeing (7) chp (7) climategate (7) copenhagen (7) scenario planning (7) vinod khosla (7) apocaphilia (6) ceramic fuel cells (6) cigs (6) futurism (6) jatropha (6) local currencies (6) nigeria (6) ocean acidification (6) somalia (6) t boone pickens (6) space based solar power (5) varanus island (5) garbage (4) global energy grid (4) kevin kelly (4) low temperature geothermal power (4) oled (4) tim flannery (4) v2g (4) club of rome (3) norman borlaug (2) peak oil portfolio (1)