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Summary:

Some of our favorite buzz words keep meeting — smart meters and Twitter. Smart meter startup SmartSynch says it’s partnered with the University of Mississippi to help cut campus energy consumption by publishing the university’s smart meter energy consumption data to Twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds. […]

Some of our favorite buzz words keep meeting — smart meters and Twitter. Smart meter startup SmartSynch says it’s partnered with the University of Mississippi to help cut campus energy consumption by publishing the university’s smart meter energy consumption data to Twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds. SmartSynch says it’s built an online dashboard to bring together campus smart meters and popular social networks.

twittersmartsynch

SmartSynch has deployed only 16 of its smart meters around the Ole Miss campus. While the social network strategy might not result in a huge overall cut in energy consumption, it could do a lot to educate students, which is a significant step toward bringing energy management tools into the mainstream.

A smart meter online dashboard that tweets energy consumption isn’t the core of what SmartSynch does. The company makes smart meters that run over the wireless networks of cell phone companies. For example, Texas utility Texas-New Mexico Power (TNMP) is working with SmartSynch and AT&T to roll out 10,000 smart meters at Texas homes that will use AT&T’s wireless network.

SmartSynch says the advantage for a utility to use a phone company’s network is that the utility doesn’t have to put down the capital expense of building a proprietary network, but can, instead, rent space on the existing network. Clint Wheelock, who does research for GigaOM Pro, thinks that cell phone companies (subscription required) will be the leading way that smart meters are connected to utilities. I’m still unsure that utilities will want to keep shelling out a payment to the phone companies.

When it comes to Twitter and smart meters, other companies have had the same idea, too, linking up with Twitter, and connecting with its massive userbase. German utility Yello Strom told me back in July that it was building a tweeting meter application in case its customers wanted to keep track of energy consumption via Twitter. I’ve also subscribed to IBM “Master Inventor” Andy Stanford-Clark’s Twitter feed for a while, and the feed tweets everything that his house does including energy consumption (lights turned off, too much energy used, fountain turned on, etc). Sounds boring, but it’s surprisingly compelling.

  1. [...] Edit Staff | Thursday, August 27, 2009 | 8:06 AM PT | 0 comments More tweeting smart meters! This time outta Mississippi (Earth2Tech) Why I’ll wait on Snow Leopard, and why maybe you should, too (TheAppleBlog) A tale [...]

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  2. I’ll say it right now, I think these smart energy monitors are going to be a huge tool in reducing energy consumption in the US and worldwide. Some companies seem to be doing great work with utilities in order to bring complex load monitoring systems to market, which will be great. But why is there no simple consumer monitor, like TED or any other, that simply plugs into an ethernet cable, posts the data online, then makes it available via an API. Allow the community to develop a simple dashboard for the data, and you have a great and incredibly useful product.

    Its been shown in various studies that simply making people aware of the amount of energy that they are using actually leads to them reducing the amount of energy that they use. Its amazing how much clarity a simple graph of your energy usage can bring. We set the energy monitor in our home to post real time energy usage to the web, and plot it in a graph: http://www.plentyways.com/blog/2009/08/a-day-in-the-life-of-my-electricity/

    Its really effective, but it was a little technical to set up and requires a laptop to be always on in order to post the data online. I’m waiting for an energy monitor that will automatically do this for you, and make it simple enough so that any consumer can set it up. Then it will be really interesting: comparing energy usage with friends, sharing tips, measuring how effective each tips are… the possibilities for mashups are endless. So come on guys, where is this product?

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  3. Our real-time pricing program in for Ameren Illinois customers currently allows participants to receive daily price reports via twitter that show the highest priced and lowest priced hours for the following day. If the price is expected to be particularly due to a critical peak load on the system, we issue a special high price alert as well. Check it out at http://www.twitter.com/powersmart or for more about our program at http://www.powersmartpricing.org.

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  4. [...] a smart meter startup, to install smart meters across the campus.  If that’s not enough, the smart meters will be tweeting, facebooking, and blogging. Ole Miss, in sum, will have electricity meters that are more tech-savvy than your mother. What do [...]

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