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Energy Data in a Flash

April 5, 2017 By Molly White in

Another great article from

In the old days, you found moisture in the basement before you knew the sump pump failed. Good riddance to the old days.

A growing number of smart meters, sensors and intelligent systems connected to the grid through thermostats and smart meters can alert you to a problem with a sump pump or a central air conditioning system before it’s too late.

“We collect 25 terabytes of data every day,” said Bob Marshall, CEO of Whisker Labs Inc., developers of an energy management platform used by several smart thermostat manufacturers, utilities, and industrial and academic researchers.

At the Smart Energy Summit 2017, panelists compared data from smart appliances and other devices to on-board computer data in vehicles.

“If you want to turn a light on and you want to see it on your app, it’s got to be done in 300 milliseconds. One second is just far too slow,” said Marshall. “That’s all possible today, with inexpensive technology.”

According to analysts, as many as 90 million smart meters could be deployed before 2020 and utilities and device manufacturers are finding ways to make data consumer-friendly.

“There’s no way you’re going to write custom software to serve small portions of the overall market,” said Michael Murray, president of Mission:data Coalition, a business supported -organization that promotes smart meter data sharing practices.

Murray said uniformity is key, likening it to the standardization of track widths and rail gauges that made transcontinental rail transport possible. 

Time-of-use, solar generation, advanced metering detail on HVAC systems and other devices and lifestyle information could have the most immediate value to consumers, said Leesa Lee, vice president of marketing at Bidgely.

The company collects individual appliance data from about 40 different utilities, including some electric cooperatives. 

“Consumers say that they are very interested in saving the environment and saving energy,” said Lee. “We know at the end of the day, they care about cold beer and warm showers.”

NRECA’s Business and Technology Strategies unit is working with Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Jordan, Minnesota, and Horry Electric Cooperative based in Conway, South Carolina, to demonstrate load and individual device use with advanced metering data.

The product will include an app offering a deeper understanding of energy use and efficiency options.