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Summary:

Every smart grid company, IT firm and software startup seems to have the desire to build a home energy management tool these days. But one we’ve been waiting to see for awhile has just launched: Smart grid player GridPoint says that its home energy management tool, […]

Every smart grid company, IT firm and software startup seems to have the desire to build a home energy management tool these days. But one we’ve been waiting to see for awhile has just launched: Smart grid player GridPoint says that its home energy management tool, which partly uses software from the company Lixar it acquired back in June, is now available.

Consumers can only access the energy management software through their utility, and depending on the utility, it’ll most likely be offered for free. The tool enables consumers to monitor home energy consumption, sign up for utility energy efficiency programs, manage some smart devices remotely and receive tips about energy savings. That’s all pretty typical of other energy management tools (here’s a list of 10 companies offering tools). GridPoint counts utility customers Austin Energy, Duke Energy, Kansas City Power & Light, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Xcel Energy.

While I’ve only seen this screen shot and haven’t tested out the service, I am eager to see how it compares to Microsoft’s Hohm, Google’s PowerMeter, Silver Spring’s Greenbox and eMeter’s home energy tool. Lixar got such fab reviews before GridPoint snapped it up, I’m interested to see if it still works so well (merging technology can sometimes be tricky). If anyone’s tried it out, leave your comments.

By Katie Fehrenbacher

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  1. I’ve been patiently waiting, but there doesn’t seem to be any access yet through Austin Energy. Their earlier material regarding smart grid efforts mentioned a tool like Gridpoint’s, but they haven’t publicized that in a while. I hope this means it’s coming soon!

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  2. Good post. Good timing too. I just posted a blog on Computerized Electricity Systems. Basically, they are doing what Gridpoint is doing on steroids. The advantage is that you can buy their product right now and don’t have to depend on your utility. The other major difference is that CES allows you to control individual breakers. I saw a web demo and was impressed. http://blog.mapawatt.com/2009/12/08/monitor-and-control-each-outlet/

    of all the companies you’ve mentioned, I’m least impressed by Microsoft’s Hohm. They need to understand that the real power for consumers is in monitoring their electricity in real time; not filling out a long questionnaire.

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    1. The reason we launched Hohm with the questionnaire so that anyone can use it – it’s free and no equipment necessary. As long as a resident has a computer and internet access they can start accessing hohm and learn about ways to make their home more energy efficient. Also keep in mind that we’re in beta so we’re constantly working on improving Hohm and we definitely have future features lined up to deliver real-time data to residents. I’d love to get more detailed feedback from you on how we can improve Hohm you can reach out to me on Facebook (just search Microsoft Hohm) or @microsofthohm and @elemenager

      Thanks,

      Elliott – Online Community Manger for Hohm

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  3. [...] like there’s a solid reason for all these companies developing home energy management tools. Pike Research published a report this morning that says that 28.1 million consumers will be using [...]

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  4. I’ve been told it won’t work with screen readers so not everyone can use it.

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  5. When you say “now available”, what do you mean? Is it installed available anywhere?

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  6. I’m the community manager from Microsoft Hohm I’d love to test it out and see how it compares to Hohm. If anyone has tried it I’d love to hear your thoughts about the two and how we can improve. You can ping me @microsofthohm or @elemenager

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  7. Looks like the C.E.S. product costs $575 and requires a licensed electrician to install the hardware, so not everyone will be able to afford/use this product.

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    1. David H Stannard Friday, December 18, 2009

      I wonder about the payback especially here in the US. How much electricity (kwHr) and a which rate(s) and for how long before a home owner will switch. If the average American is in their home for ~3 years, the break even point needs to be relatively short OR this infrastructure will need to be subsidized.

      If I’m subsidizing (ie the government and/or a utility) is it better to reduce overall consumption by funding better insulation, higher efficiency Energy Star appliances, new furnaces and water heaters, better windows over products such as C.E.S.?

      I think that we are way too quick to discount the approach proposed by Microsoft Hohm although the implementation could use some revision. I’ve been thinking how to provide the utility customer base with a way to make better informed decisions without having to put out huge sums of money. I have some ideas, but I’m not giving away my IP.

      d

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  8. [...] via Now Available: GridPoint’s Home Energy Management Tool. [...]

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  9. [...] Earth2Tech, Katie Fehrenbacher. December 9, 2009. “Now Available: GridPoint’s Home Energy Management Tool.” [...]

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  10. [...] Now Available: GridPoint’s Home Energy Management Tool Posted December 17, 2009 Filed under: Uncategorized | http://earth2tech.com/2009/12/09/now-available-gridpoints-home-management-tool/ [...]

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  11. [...] Now Available: GridPoint’s Home Energy Management Tool [...]

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  12. [...] working on Xcel Energy’s showcase SmartGridCity project in Boulder, Colo., already has its own home energy management system courtesy of its acquisition of Lixar last year. But that hasn’t stopped it from inking two [...]

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  13. Former Gridpoint Employee Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    I worked for Gridpoint and did work on this application. It is full of homes and there are numerous bugs. Buyer beware!

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