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Is Lixar SRS Poised to Be the Next Smart Grid Heavyweight Thanks to Cisco?

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lixarsrsThere’s not much that Toronto-based Lixar SRS will say about its demand response smart grid product. In a phone call with us, Lixar Managing Partner Richard Oh wouldn’t even explain the details of the technology, and said the startup has been operating “completely under the radar.” But if sources we’ve spoken with are correct, Lixar is very much on the radar of utilities as well as Cisco (s CSCO), thanks to the startup’s energy management software. We’ve heard that Cisco and Duke Energy are working with Lixar’s in-home software for their smart grid rollout, and that the startup is working with other utilities such as FPL, Milton Hydro and Direct Energy.

Both Cisco and Duke Energy, which just last week said they’re partnering on a $1 billion smart grid rollout, declined to comment as to whether or not they’re using Lixar’s energy management software. But when we talked to Cisco’s director of business solutions, Mark Miller, last week he told us that while the networking giant will largely be using it own home energy management hardware for the Duke rollout, when it comes to the software, it could look elsewhere. (Cisco is largely responsible for working with third-party network vendors for the smart grid rollout, Duke told us.)

Lixar’s Oh wouldn’t comment on any deals either, but told us that we should expect some big announcements from the company as early as next week. In the meantime, Lixar hasn’t completely escaped media coverage. An article from Clean Break’s Tyler Hamilton in May (the only one I can find with any details about the company) looks at Lixar’s work in Ontario with Milton Hydro, Direct Energy and Bell Canada and briefly mentions that Lixar is being “tested by Duke Energy” and “is working with Cisco on smart-grid projects.” Hamilton’s article also has a glowing comment from Direct Energy, which called Lixar’s software the best part of the project.

We’re interested to know what makes the energy software tool so impressive to utilities like Direct Energy as well as Cisco (no stranger to well-designed software). A lot of companies, including GreenBox and Google with its PowerMeter, are offering home energy management solutions, which sound competitive. One thing’s for sure: Cisco is a good friend to have, as the networking giant can bring Lixar under its wing on utility deals. We’d speculate that’s how its working on the Duke and FPL deals.