Newsletter – September 2014

 

We are unable to accomplish timely completion of the September 2014 edition. We have decided to wait and publish the next edition in October 2014, instead of rushing to produce a lesser quality work. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this decision. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments regarding our decision.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – August 2014

THIS MONTH…..
-TRENDS
-EYE CATCHING
-ANNUAL PLAN
-DISCUSSIONS
-EXISTING CODE
-SECURITY
-LASTLY

-TRENDS
The stuff going on in the big picture now…..

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Current and Past

May June Trend % Change
$0.136 $0.143 Increase 5.15%
Year June Trend % Change % Since Difference
2004 $0.099 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2005 $0.104 Increase 5.05% 5.05% 5.05%
2006 $0.118 Increase 13.46% 19.19% 14.14%
2007 $0.122 Increase 3.39% 23.23% 4.04%
2008 $0.128 Increase 4.92% 29.29% 6.06%
2009 $0.132 Increase 3.13% 33.33% 4.04%
2010 $0.132 Same 0.00% 33.33% 0.00%
2011 $0.134 Increase 1.52% 35.35% 2.02%
2012 $0.135 Increase 0.75% 36.36% 1.01%
2013 $0.137 Increase 1.48% 38.38% 2.02%
2014 $0.143 Increase 4.38% 44.44% 6.06%

 United Kingdom Utility Prices
Current and Past

(OK, we are looking for a pretty picture to put here. Our other picture went away.)

-EYE CATCHING
The stuff that has caught our eye…..

Demand Response

Smart Grid – Consumer

  • An article, addressing a new Congressional Report, explaining the risks present within the United States electric grid.
  • An article, explaining the edge of residential property is where the next Smart Grid growth event will occur.
  • An evaluation, of various Smart Thermostats and their inability to effectively achieve comfort with cost effectiveness.

Smart Grid – Producer

  • An article, explaining electric service outages are driving Smart Grid growth more than the desire to achieve improved energy efficiency.
  • An article, finding the United States electric grid grid is the worst in the industrialized world, having a 285% increase in electric service outages.
  • A press release, announcing India will modify their entire national electric grid to use OpenADR.
  • A decision, enacting full retail deregulation of the Japan electric power system. Electricity supply in Japan is carried out by privately-owned independent regional electric power companies. In 1952, the nine electric power companies established the Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC) to promote smooth operations within the industry.
  • An article, stating Japan will restart two of their nuclear reactors.
  • An article, considering why Smart Grid investments fail to produce desired results.
  • An article, illustrating how to successfully transform any Smart Grid from theory into reality. There is nothing in this article about technology standards. This absence demonstrates it is an economic game now, of finding the money to build.
  • An opinion, sharing how electric suppliers can respond to Google in the electricity production market sector.

Smart Grid – Security

  • An article, asserting Smart Meters pose both a security risk and an insurance challenge for the energy industry.
  • An article, identify the insurance challenges involved with providing coverage to energy firms.
  • A report, illustrating the ease of compromising the security of a Smart Home kit.
  • An article, discussing the IEEE approach for accomplishing energy grid security.
  • An article, considering who will control network connected HVAC thermostats.
  • An article, identifying 7 questions utilities should ask their vendors.
  • An article, identifying 7 Smart Meter security threats not involving penetrating a network.

-ANNUAL PLAN
Status Update of our 2014 Plan…..

Demand Response

  • Further discussions with members of the electronics industry.
  • No other work since the April newsletter.

Unattended Server Side Automation

  • No other work since the April newsletter.

Power Line Communication

  • Further discussions with the members of the electronics industry.
  • No other work since the January newsletter.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for this year.

-DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

WIRED OR WIRELESS
We are often asked if a network connected HVAC thermostat is best connected to a wired or wireless network. We are asked this question to gain our endorsement for supporting either one position or the other. The answer to this question is quite long and not well suited for a newsletter. It requires proper treatment, perhaps in the form a white paper. It is part of the Cost Benefit Analysis we cover in both the Implementation Cost and Road Map sections of our user manual. There are benefits and liabilities to each option, both independently and when they are used together. Talk to us if you would like for us to develop a white paper on this topic.

It is not a matter of a good tool or a bad tool. A smartphone can easily be compromised, if it is improperly configured. Even well intended help can easily bring disaster. SANS explains how a smart light bulb (a developing technology) exposes the wireless network password used by the bulb. The successful Smart Grid will need both synchronous and asynchronous technologies. A thing is not a technology. Technologies are specified, measured, and validated.

We answer this wired or wireless question by determining whatever is the most suitable answer for the end-user, to NOT expose them to either:

too great of a security risk

OR

too expensive of an operational cost

We are quite concerned about the false perception of using wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) with a computer will bring success from using Wi-Fi with the network connected HVAC thermostat. A network connected HVAC thermostat is a System on a Chip (SoC). A SoC is a much lesser technology combination than a computer, resulting in a much smaller set of capabilities. Not all wireless networking options use the same type of wireless technology. Wi-Fi is not ZigBee, which is not Bluetooth, which is not AMI, which is not cellular. These technologies can sometimes work together, but they are completely different technologies using some form of radio frequency on the radio spectrum.

Again, properly answering this question requires much better treatment than only a newsletter.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

-EXISTING CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

BUGS
We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

-SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS
A critical flaw has been discovered in Universal Serial Bus (USB). Some HVAC thermostats have USB connectors. This flaw does not mean all technologies using USB are vulnerable to this problem. It does mean any technology automatically enabling a USB device is vulnerable.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

-LASTLY
Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – July 2014

THIS MONTH…..
-TRENDS
-EYE CATCHING
-ANNUAL PLAN
-DISCUSSIONS
-EXISTING CODE
-SECURITY
-LASTLY

-TRENDS
The stuff going on in the big picture now…..

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Current and Past

April May Trend % Change
$0.131 $0.136 Increase 3.82%
Year May Trend % Change % Since Difference
2004 $0.093 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2005 $0.097 Increase 4.30% 4.30% 4.30%
2006 $0.110 Increase 13.40% 18.28% 13.98%
2007 $0.115 Increase 4.55% 23.66% 5.38%
2008 $0.120 Increase 4.35% 29.03% 5.38%
2009 $0.126 Increase 5.00% 35.48% 6.45%
2010 $0.127 Increase 0.79% 36.56% 1.08%
2011 $0.129 Increase 1.57% 38.71% 2.15%
2012 $0.129 Same 0.00% 38.71% 0.00%
2013 $0.131 Increase 1.55% 40.86% 2.15%
2014 $0.136 Increase 3.82% 46.24% 5.38%

 

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Current and Past

(OK, we are looking for a pretty picture to put here. Our other picture went away.)

-EYE CATCHING
The stuff that has caught our eye…..

Demand Response

  • An article, discussing a court ruling about a software patent. This ruling will most likely play into the Smart Grid, as the ruling is relevant to the collection of Smart Grid technologies.
  • An op-ed, echoing the success of recent OpenADR deployments.
  • An article, describing the desire to overturn a recent court ruling defining Demand Response.
  • An article, considering the benefits and costs of residential Demand Response.
  • An article, describing the impact of an environmental regulation on Demand Response.

Smart Grid – Consumer

  • An article, describing a US Senate bill in progress. The nature of this legislation provides clear indication the Federal mandate for Demand Response is soon to arrive in the United States.
  • A commentary, asserting the existing electric rate structure encourages customers to make undesired decisions.
  • A white paper, describing the three pillars of an effective connected thermostat management plan.

Smart Grid – Producer

  • A commentary, asserting the utility of the future will sell less electricity.
  • An article, describing the capability levels of a Smart Grid operator.
  • An article, reporting the new electric industry business model in Japan.
  • An article, depicting what the electric customer of today wants to hear from their provider.
  • An audio recording, discussing the most probable builders of the Smart Grid.

Smart Grid – Security

  • An article, reporting Nest Labs is looking to interconnect their thermostat to garage doors and other gadgets, opening up considerable security concerns. This is in direct contrast to their newly launched Nest Developer Program, asserting the intent to make all things safer.
  • An article, considering the extreme risks often embraced by the Internet of Things.
  • An article, discussing the new standardization strategy from ANSI.
  • An article, explaining why having a smart home is not always the best choice.

-ANNUAL PLAN
Status Update of our 2014 Plan…..

Demand Response

  • Further discussions with members of the electronics industry.
  • No other work since the April newsletter.

Unattended Server Side Automation

  • No other work since the April newsletter.

Power Line Communication

  • Further discussions with the members of the electronics industry.
  • No other work since the January newsletter.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for this year.

-DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

MORE THAN SOFTWARE
The nature of the GNU remotecontrol software project, in light of the developing Smart Grid, requires us to understand a set of maturing technologies. The most unstable aspect of the coming Smart Grid is the economic side. We addressed the economic aspect of the Smart Grid in our June 2014 newsletter. The technology necessary for the Smart Grid to exist is essentially developed and mostly deployed, through the availability of both trusted and untrusted networks. The trusted networks are comprised of Advanced Metering Infrastructure, along with Advanced Meter Reading. The untrusted networks are comprised of the World Wide Web. The prevalent Smart Meter deployment efforts position public utilities for advancing to the next logical step, which is connecting Smart Meters to devices inside of the residential premises. The scale of Smart Meter deployment is different for each geographical region of each public utility, continuously growing larger.

We are convinced there is abundant credible evidence a national Smart Grid will be up and running in the majority of each developed country within the next two decades. The cost effectivenesses of this technology offering will incentivize people to be a part of a country specific Smart Grid. Those who do not willing become part of a country specific Smart Grid will eventually be forced into becoming part of a countries Smart Grid, through some form of a domicile mandate. The reason for this conclusion is it will become more costly to have people not connected to the Smart Grid. This conclusion is supported by a relevant trend, the elimination of analog telephone services, as the technology of today provides more effective options. A 2009 report shows almost one in four homes in the United States have only a cellular phone. The end of the analog telephone service offering is expected to occur in less than a decade, some advocating for the end to come now.

The specific action holding back the Smart Grid from advancing now is determining how the necessary user specific information will be handled. We also covered this aspect in our June 2014 newsletter. This information handling decision, made by both the end user and the public utility, will launch construction of the Smart Grid. Forcing the decision on the customer will also launch construction of the Smart Grid, but it will take longer to see construction begin. Regardless of who will make this information handling decision, this decision is coming to any culture wanting a Smart Grid.

A credible, dependable, and trustworthy software project must responsibly address the associated data privacy involved with such a large scale transformation to any culture.

Would you ever want anything less?

The success of the Smart Grid is resting upon effectively predicting demand for energy consumption and executing dynamic Demand Response. Successfully predicting demand for energy consumption involves recording historical energy consumption, for identifying trends of probable future energy demand. This historical usage is where the data privacy matter is centered. The reality is historical user data will be stored by the public utility. It is only a matter of how the residential customer wants their specific user data handled.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

-EXISTING CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

BUGS
We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

-SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

INCREASING NUMBER OF SECURITY ATTACKS
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is charged with defining and regulating cyber security of energy facilities in the United States. There is an increasing trend to penetrate the systems associated with energy production, transmission and distribution. The US Department of Homeland Security Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team is part of this collective protection effort by the Federal government. ICS-CERT and Symantec have each issued reports on the threat activity. We addressed the US energy firm cyber defense protections are inadequate in the March 2014 newsletter and the financial downgrade of the entire US electric utility sector in the June 2014 newsletter.

It is radiantly clear the only way energy related activities will ever be secure is to utilize a system approach to successfully design, build, and operate the energy related activities. GNU remotecontrol is designed and built for integration with existing Information Technology systems, eliminating the need to develop a unique security policy for network connected HVAC thermostats. Any thermostat not operating under a comprehensive security plan is nothing more than a security threat that will most likely bring a security compromise to your organization.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

-LASTLY
Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Newsletter – June 2014

THIS MONTH…..
-TRENDS
-EYE CATCHING
-ANNUAL PLAN
-DISCUSSIONS
-EXISTING CODE
-SECURITY
-LASTLY

-TRENDS
The stuff going on in the big picture now…..

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Current and Past

March April Trend % Change
$0.135 $0.131 Decrease -2.96%
Year April Trend % Change % Since Difference
2004 $0.091 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2005 $0.095 Increase 4.40% 4.40% 4.40%
2006 $0.109 Increase 14.74% 19.78% 15.38%
2007 $0.113 Increase 3.67% 24.18% 4.40%
2008 $0.118 Increase 4.42% 29.67% 5.49%
2009 $0.125 Increase 5.93% 37.36% 7.69%
2010 $0.126 Increase 0.80% 38.46% 1.10%
2011 $0.127 Increase 0.79% 39.56% 1.10%
2012 $0.127 Same 0.00% 39.56% 0.00%
2013 $0.128 Increase 0.79% 40.66% 1.10%
2014 $0.131 Increase 2.34% 43.96% 3.30%

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Current and Past

Historical Pricing

-EYE CATCHING
The stuff that has caught our eye…..

Demand Response

  • An article, describing Demand Response is now a mature technology.
  • A two-part report. Part One considers the potential for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meeting the needs of dynamic Demand Response (DR). Part Two considers the ZigBee Broadband Gateway as an option for meeting the needs of dynamic Demand Response.
  • A press release, identifying EnerNOC (a proprietary software company) has received an award as Product of the Year. This signifies software is not only an innovation in the Smart Grid effort, software as a whole is arguably the most important innovation occurring in the Smart Grid arena now.
  • An article, discussing the landmark ruling between the Electric Power Supply Association and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The ruling is in favor of the Electric Power Supply Association. The purpose of the case is to define the regulatory authority of Demand Response. Neither side of the argument petitioned against Demand Response. A brief was provided by several economists on this matter, prior to the ruling. The ruling finds:
    • There is no authority to force anyone to participate in Demand Response;
    • A policy is not a delegation of regulatory authority;
    • A policy declaration cannot nullify a clear and specific grant of jurisdiction; and
    • The regulation of any Demand Response effort, along with any financial incentive to use Demand Response, is ruled as a decision for each individual State to make.

Smart Grid – Consumer

  • An article, detailing how ConEdison is giving their customers an option to control window air conditioning units, through a best-effort attempt for Demand Response.
  • An article, stating Connecticut is protecting their residents against predatory electricity pricing.
  • An article, reporting Energy giant E.On is to pay out £12m to some of its customers following an investigation into mis-selling.
  • An article, explaining the energy company who successfully identifies customer energy consumption behavior will find economic growth.
  • An article, reporting utility satisfaction scores are down for first time in eight years.
  • A disclosure, stating Google may put advertisements on the Nest thermostat display screen.
  • An article, emphasizing a connected home does not necessarily mean it is a smart home.
  • An analysis, considering the three leading smart thermostat manufacturers.

Smart Grid – Producer

  • An article, describing the Barclays downgrade of the entire US electric utility sector.
  • The DRAFT release of the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Roadmap, Version 3.
  • The FINAL release of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook.
  • Japan is attempting to restart their nuclear power plants. A Japanese judge has ruled against any restart activity. Japan is considered to be unable to meet their energy supply needs without a rapid replacement of the nuclear option. Japan may only be able to restart one-third of its nuclear reactors.
  • An article, describing South Korea is leading the way in their vision for a Smart Grid.
  • An article, describing the successful utility communication networks of the future are multi-layered, multi-purpose, and multi-interoperable.
  • A whitepaper, with compelling metrics of residential HVAC energy usage.
  • An article, describing the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio wants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to audit and verify the generation capacities of Ohio electricity producers, because of power outages during the past frigid winter.

Smart Grid – Security

  • An initiative, through a Building Information Modelling Task Group. The goal of the group is to reduce building life cycle costs. The security concern is a lack of certainty critical building information is kept private, to prevent a criminal element from obtaining sensitive building information.
  • An article, describing an unnamed public utility was subjected to multiple cyber attacks and infiltration, from January to March 2014.
  • An article, describing United States utility regulators are not prepared for cyber threats.

-ANNUAL PLAN
Status Update of our 2014 Plan…..

Demand Response

  • Initial discussions with members of the electronics industry.
  • No other work since the April newsletter.

Unattended Server Side Automation

  • No other work since the April newsletter.

Power Line Communication

  • Further discussions with the members of the electronics industry.
  • No other work since the January newsletter.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for this year.

-DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

DYNAMIC DEMAND RESPONSE
Our discussions over the past year find there are assorted understandings for the definition of dynamic Demand Response. We are writing today to clearly present what dynamic Demand Response is and how we understand it can be successfully implemented. We describe the electric power industry, writing strictly from the economic perspective. We share this information with you now, as present-day global events force discussion of both energy supply and consumption to be at the forefront of planning for most folks, both in their home and in their work.

We are convinced the future of electricity consumption is expanding Demand Response to include the residential customer. The journey to residential Demand Response is driven by implementing dynamic pricing. The basis of dynamic Demand Response, irrespective of customer type, is the variable pricing of electricity. Otherwise, it is the purchase of electricity at the same unit price, regardless of when it is consumed or the amount consumed. Please note the commercial or industrial electricity customer could also pay a peak demand surcharge, to purchase electricity during high demand. The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability is the United States agency officiating the Demand Response Policy.

There are four summary reasons why widespread residential dynamic Demand Response is not realized in developed countries today:

  1. The desire, on the part of the customer, to be completely private in their activities.
  2. The concern, on the part of the customer, for sufficient security between the network connected HVAC thermostat and the Public Utility.
  3. The lack of desire, on the part of the Public Utility, to be responsible for maintaining additional customer data associated with customer electric usage. (Additional customer data, associated with customer usage activity, must be maintained by the Public Utility to know usage trends, to plan for increased or decreased electricity consumption.)
  4. The lack of knowledge, on the part of the Public Utility, to know how to successfully modify their business model and offer dynamic Demand Response.

There is considerable cost associated with achieving residential dynamic Demand Response, along with great risk from not implementing residential dynamic Demand Response. However, the cost is much greater to not accomplish residential dynamic Demand Response. The cost to implement residential dynamic Demand Response is realized as demand is increasing and the supplier, the Public Utility, does not know the amount of demand they need to supply. Building a power generation source involves decades of planning and construction. The growth of electric vehicles will rapidly increase electricity consumption. The shifting country specific supply options, considerably changing over the past decade, alter ability to supply electrical demand. The risk to not implement residential dynamic Demand Response is poor responsibility in planning for adequate supply. The exact outcome of this risk is already well known. It is common knowledge India experiences a roaming brownout strategy during the Summer months, due to their inability to supply the total electricity demand. The supply of energy in India is net imported. The electricity sector in India is the world’s fourth largest. The supply of energy in Japan was plentiful, until recently. The electricity sector in Japan (see Smart Grid – Producer section) is certainly facing the same problem this Summer as India. If developed countries cannot manage supplying their electrical demand today, with electrical demand increasing each day, the problem of demand outweighing supply will only be solved by either increasing electricity supply or decreasing electricity consumption. There is little incentive for a consumer, of any resource, to reduce their consumption unless a sufficient financial impact is presented. This financial impact is often realized by either the unit price going up, causing them enough pain to reduce their consumption, or the availability of a purchasing discount, incentivizing their reduced consumption.

The Public Utilities seem to be struggling to find a path to implement residential dynamic Demand Response. This struggle is mostly caused by not being able to find a satisfactory business model to successfully accomplish the necessary growth to add the residential dynamic Demand Response offering and do so within the given budget options. There is considerable debate on the later cause, often to the point of controversy, but these two causes seem to comprise the bulk of the path obstacle. The only way to deal with an electricity supply problem, in the absence of any additional supply option, is to use a roaming brownout strategy. This strategy is required because there is no ability to separate the electrical consumption by appliance or device type. The only way to measure consumption is to the premise as a whole. This lack of ability to measure is caused by not having a separate consumption measurement at the appliance or device level. Controlling consumption is an entirely different matter. There is no way to know how much electricity an HVAC system is using from the rest of the premise. The option is to either intermittently turn off all electricity to the premise, or turn off all electricity to the HVAC system, to share the available electricity. These two options are often unpleasant to everyone. The more pleasant option is to increase or decrease a temperature setting, along with maintaining the ability to operate the fan and circulate air inside of the premises.

GNU remotecontrol does not have concern about the source of electricity. We hold this position because there is no way to know the method used to generate electricity, as the electrical outlet does not say if it is electricity from fossil fuel, nuclear fuel, hydroelectric, solar, wind, or any other energy source. This lack of concern is particularly true during times of peak consumption, when the local Public Utility must purchase additional electricity beyond their production capacity from a supplier elsewhere, to supply the total demand for all of their customers. The purchase of electricity from outside a Public Utility often comes at a premium unit price, where the additional cost is passed on to the final electricity consumer, in the form of an increased unit price for the final electricity consumer. This higher price for the final electricity customer is often realized during an annual price increase. The information at the top of our Monthly Newsletter provides you this exact information. If the supply of electricity is so poorly managed a roaming brownout strategy must be implemented, while having adequate prior knowledge of a supply problem, this is a failure of leadership. Leadership, in the form of the local individual, the local family, the local business, the local Public Utility, the local politician, the local clergy, all the way up to the top level of the country. A roaming brownout strategy, during extreme weather, will certainly cause a health risk and probable death. The electrical supply problem is not caused by an absence of suitable technology. The electrical supply problem is caused by not modifying the business model of the electric industry, to plan for supplying sufficient electricity at the best possible selling price. This problem is not only caused by the Public Utility. It is a society problem, caused by failing to change the electricity market to meet the world of today, compared to the electricity market of the nineteenth century. The resolution to a social problem can often be found in social responsibility.

We recommend the following strategy, to achieve effective implementation of residential dynamic Demand Response:

  1. Determine the specific data the residential customer is willing to share with their Public Utility.
  2. Draft a written agreement between the residential customer and the Public Utility, defining how electricity usage data will be protected, based upon the specific data the residential customer is willing to share with their Public Utility.
  3. Draft a new Public Utility business model, based upon this new written agreement.

There is no credible evidence the price of energy is expected to decrease. There is credible evidence the demand for energy is expected to increase. There is no justifiable reason to arrive at the day when a roaming brownout strategy must be implemented, due to a lack of preparation for effectively balancing electricity supply and demand. Most importantly, there is no justifiable reason to force the implementation of residential dynamic Demand Response upon anyone without the customer and supplier agreeing to the protection of the customer usage data. The success of residential dynamic Demand Response is the responsibility of both the electricity consumer and supplier. The time to act is now. The action is discussion. We urge all parties to enter discussions, to prevent experiencing either a roaming brownout strategy, a higher unit price for electricity, or both.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

-EXISTING CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

BUGS
We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

-SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

UNTRUSTED NETWORKS
We read Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) intends to use a wireless connection from the electric meter for connection to the HVAC thermostat in a premises. The wireless aspect of this setup is unclear, regarding how it will be both implemented and managed. We are researching to find success of this strategy. To date, we find no credible evidence the wireless connection of the HVAC thermostat is safe from intrusion, simply because it is part of AMI. The safer option is still a wired connection between the HVAC thermostat and any data network.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

-LASTLY
Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Newsletter – May 2014

THIS MONTH…..
-TRENDS
-EYE CATCHING
-ANNUAL PLAN
-DISCUSSIONS
-EXISTING CODE
-SECURITY
-LASTLY

-TRENDS
The stuff going on in the big picture now…..

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Current and Past

February March Trend % Change
$0.134 $0.135 Increase 0.75%
Year March Trend % Change % Since
2004 $0.091 Same 0.00% 0.00%
2005 $0.094 Increase 3.30% 3.30%
2006 $0.109 Increase 15.96% 19.78%
2007 $0.113 Increase 3.67% 24.18%
2008 $0.116 Increase 2.65% 27.47%
2009 $0.126 Increase 8.62% 38.46%
2010 $0.125 Decrease -0.79% 37.36%
2011 $0.127 Increase 1.60% 39.56%
2012 $0.127 Same 0.00% 39.56%
2013 $0.128 Increase 0.79% 40.66%
2014 $0.135 Increase 5.47% 48.35%

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Current and Past

Historical Pricing

-EYE CATCHING
The stuff that has caught our eye…..

Demand Response

  • An article, considering the present capabilities of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and the needs of Demand Response (DR).
  • A report, identifying 28% of mid-size companies are very interested in DR participation, but only 9% currently take advantage of DR programs.
  • A press release, detailing the leading energy utility DR initiatives.
  • A press release, announcing ecobee has received OpenADR 2.0b certification from the OpenADR Alliance.
  • A presentation, sharing options to establish a solid business case for gaining Chief Financial Officer support of Demand-Side Management (DSM), which includes energy efficiency and DR.

Smart Grid – Consumer

  • The Green Button Initiative, an industry led effort providing electricity customers with easy access to their energy usage data.
  • An interview with Google, discussing some of their vision for the future of the Nest thermostat.
  • An editorial, considering the challenges of customers’ acceptance of DR.
  • A report, providing Smart Grid stakeholders an in-depth understanding of the needs of the low-income population.

Smart Grid – Producer

  • An article, considering the bankruptcy of Energy Future Holdings.
  • A report, finding air conditioning consumes 23% of the electricity in the United States.
  • An article, considering how Google’s disdain for utilities could ruin their Nest acquisition.

Smart Grid – Security

  • An article, considering how United States energy independence could change the world.
  • A report, detailing many Connecticut utilities have been breached by cyber attacks.
  • An article, considering privacy concerns with energy meters and government reporting on data privacy challenges.
  • An article, reporting NIST wants to transition the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel from a government-funded public-private partnership to an industry led non-profit.
  • An article, reporting the frailty of the national electrical grid is one of the leading security challenges to maintaining operation the national electrical grid.

-ANNUAL PLAN
Status Update of our 2014 Plan…..

Demand Response

  • No other work since the April newsletter.

Unattended Server Side Automation

  • No other work since the April newsletter.

Power Line Communication

  • Further discussions with the members of the electronics industry.
  • No other work since the January newsletter.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for this year.

-DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

PEELING THE ONION
Our decision to enter the Smart Grid arena originally seemed like a daunting task. We knew we had many technical standards to read, along with having many discussions with many different individuals and groups, in order to provide any form of viable assistance to the electric utility sector, for both the producer and consumer. We have received considerable interest from the Smart Grid community, desiring to use GNU remotecontrol with dynamic Demand Response. We are currently working through the architecture of providing dynamic Demand Response to the electric utility sector. We are somewhere between the conceptual and the logical steps in the architecture process. Research is still occurring, to determine an appropriate fit for development of the dynamic Demand Response we have envisioned.

We are mindful of the Theory of Constraints, as we work through the final steps in the architecture process. We recognize the Smart Grid is still forming and is changing by the minute. The building of the Smart Grid is still quite far off, as the design is not complete. The value of entering the Smart Grid arena now is being able to contribute to the design of the Smart Grid. Our eyes water, as we read, and read, and read … much like peeling an onion. The good news is people want to talk and the talk is producing a valuable result. The result is the stronger and strong potential of using GNU remotecontrol to execute dynamic Demand Response on the national electrical grid.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

-EXISTING CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

BUGS
We have 0 new bugs and 1 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 2 new tasks and 2 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

-SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

2014 DATA BREACH INVESTIGATIONS REPORT
Verizon provides a report, detailing data breach investigations. The report identifies nine attack patterns, grouped by industry, making it easier to identify the types of threats one could encounter. They provide an illustration of the nine attack patterns.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

-LASTLY
Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Newsletter – April 2014

THIS MONTH…..
-TRENDS
-EYE CATCHING
-ANNUAL PLAN
-DISCUSSIONS
-EXISTING CODE
-SECURITY
-LASTLY

-TRENDS
The stuff going on in the big picture now…..

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Current and Past

January February Trend % Change
$0.134 $0.134 Same 0.00%
Year February Trend % Change % Since
2004 $0.091 Same 0.00% 0.00%
2005 $0.094 Increase 3.30% 3.30%
2006 $0.108 Increase 14.89% 18.68%
2007 $0.113 Increase 4.63% 24.18%
2008 $0.116 Increase 2.65% 27.47%
2009 $0.126 Increase 8.62% 38.46%
2010 $0.123 Decrease -2.38% 35.16%
2011 $0.125 Increase 1.63% 37.36%
2012 $0.128 Increase 2.40% 40.66%
2013 $0.129 Increase 0.78% 41.76%
2014 $0.134 Increase 3.88% 47.25%

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Current and Past

Historical Pricing

-EYE CATCHING
The stuff that has caught our eye…..

Demand Response

  • A report, from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, affirming efficiency is more valuable than a new energy source.
  • A report, citing the Demand Response Management Systems (DRMS) Market is expected to be $24.64 Billion by 2019.
  • An article, reviewing the failing Demand Response programs in California and recommendations to improve them.
  • A study, from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, emphasizing the value of adding Demand Response to energy production cost projections.
  • An article, reporting the United States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan energy bill that will establish a new voluntary efficiency standard for tenants in commercial buildings.

Smart Grid – Consumer

  • An article, with performance considerations of different smartphone HVAC management strategies.
  • An article, reporting the usage trend of smart thermostats is progressively increasing.
  • United States Senators Markey and Udall have introduced legislation incentivizing states and utilities to adopt policies that ensure consumers have timely accessibility to electricity usage information. This legislation represents an emerging government mandate to collect energy usage data from the residential premises.
  • An article, discussing the challenges for Nest to succeed in the UK.
  • Nest has halted the sale of their smoke detector, pending resolution of a design flaw.

 

Smart Grid – Producer

  • The 2014 Energy Thought Summit (ETS) was held in March. ETS brings the world’s thought leaders together for two days to debate the state and future of energy.
  • An article, listing the four keys to energy grid resiliency; prevention, reaction, perception, and prediction.
  • An article, listing the five best practices to engage customers for residential demand response; analysis, channels, education, choice, and partnerships.

 

Smart Grid – Security

  • The SANS 2014 SCADA Survey finds the largest group of security breaches contains the BLAH of HVAC controls. Their 2013 survey shows roughly the same information and the 2014 survey. This similarity demonstrates the industry in not responding to resolve indented security threats.
  • An article, emphasizing the three components of cyber security for a Utility; preventative, detective, and corrective.
  • An article, reporting critical Stuxnet type vulnerabilities discovered in UK power plants.

-ANNUAL PLAN
Status Update of our 2014 Plan…..

Demand Response

  • Scripting for Unattended Server Side Automation is progressing nicely. We released our first script on 29 March 2014. This script is integral to any Demand Response effort.
  • No other work since the March newsletter.

Unattended Server Side Automation

  • A PHP script to automatically select all thermostats and set their Date/Time is complete. We released our first script on 29 March 2014.
  • No other work since the March newsletter.

Power Line Communication

  • Further discussions with the members of the electronics industry.
  • No other work since the January newsletter.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for this year.

-DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS
We spend a considerable amount of time reading and studying different technology standards, to determine how to mature the GNU remotecontrol software project. We see the Smart Grid as held up from being built, due to the lack of agreement in the Smart Grid arena about determining which technology standards to use in designing the Smart Grid. What is currently happening are various attempts to try this and that, here and there, to see what happens. We spoke about this pattern of activity in the March 2014 newsletter and predicted it in the January 2014 newsletter. There is no need to impose a specific technology on anyone. Imposition often leads to oppression. A philosophy alone does not build an objective conclusion. It is not about what is believed. It is all about what is proven with well-tried, empirical, and verifiable evidence. A desire to bring order to a technology comes from enough demand for a technology, to justify spending the time and effort to achieve the standardization. A technology standard must provide proof it works safely, causing no harm from using the technology, if the technology expects to be adopted by anyone in their right mind.

GNU remotecontrol is built adhering to standards that have proven they are both safe and resilient. The use of a standard to build any technology contributes to interoperability, specifically between hardware and software. GNU remotecontrol does not and will not use any standard that has not proven itself to be safe, nor will we use a technology that is not standardized. It is our intention to comfort you with the fact that your usage of GNU remotecontrol will always be capable of interoperability with relevant technology standards that are proven to be both safe and resilient. We would be doing a disservice to you if we did anything else.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

-EXISTING CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

BUGS
We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

-SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

PROJECT REDPOINT
Digital Bond, founded in 1998, performs control system security assessments. They have developed a script, using both Python and Nmap, that discovers and enumerates BACnet devices on a network. This script emphasizes the insecurity in the design of the BACnet protocol.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

-LASTLY
Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Newsletter – March 2014

THIS MONTH…..
-TRENDS
-EYE CATCHING
-ANNUAL PLAN
-DISCUSSIONS
-EXISTING CODE
-SECURITY
-LASTLY

-TRENDS
The stuff going on in the big picture now…..

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Current and Past

December January Trend % Change
$0.131 $0.134 Increase 2.29%
Year January Trend % Change % Since
2004 $0.091 Same 0.00% 0.00%
2005 $0.094 Increase 3.30% 3.30%
2006 $0.108 Increase 14.89% 18.68%
2007 $0.113 Increase 4.63% 24.18%
2008 $0.116 Increase 2.65% 27.47%
2009 $0.126 Increase 8.62% 38.46%
2010 $0.124 Decrease -1.59% 36.26%
2011 $0.125 Increase 0.81% 37.36%
2012 $0.128 Increase 2.40% 40.66%
2013 $0.129 Increase 0.78% 41.76%
2014 $0.134 Increase 3.88% 47.25%

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Current and Past

Historical Pricing

-EYE CATCHING
The stuff that has caught our eye…..

Demand Response

  • A press release, announcing the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has approved the OpenADR 2.0b Profile Specification as a Publicly Available Specification (PAS).
  • A press release, announcing the OpenADR Alliance and Wi-SUN Alliance have formed a liaison agreement.
  • An article, considering the impact of Google acquiring Nest and how the acquisition could play out in the Demand Response arena.

Smart Grid – Consumer

  • The results, of the Residential Demand Response Program using the Bring Your Own Thermostat approach.
  • An article, illustrating the complexities and shortage of interoperability when using a smartphone to accomplish home automation.

Smart Grid – Producer

  • A survey, detailing the concerns utility executives struggle with now. The leading concern is old infrastructure.
  • A discussion, considering three perspectives on the future of electric utilities.

Smart Grid – Security

  • An article, reporting Lloyd’s of London has concluded energy firm cyber defense protections are inadequate. They now refuse to issue any policy to any energy firm. SANS provides commentary on this matter. A conclusion causing insurers to turn away an energy firm is resounding proof the current comprehensive strategy is not leading to a more secure energy firm.

-ANNUAL PLAN
Status Update of our 2014 Plan…..

Demand Response

  • Scripting for Unattended Server Side Automation is progressing nicely. We have completed our first script. This script is integral to any Demand Response effort.
  • No other work since the January newsletter.

Unattended Server Side Automation

  • A PHP script to automatically select all thermostats and set their Date/Time is complete. We are finishing the usage instructions. We expect to release the script before the next Blog posting.
  • No other work since the February newsletter.

Power Line Communication

  • Further discussions with the members of the electronics industry.
  • No other work since the January newsletter.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for this year.

-DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

CRISIS COMMUNICATION
SANS reports an emerging story, about a cyber attack on Target through those involved with Target’s refrigeration and HVAC systems. The attacker infiltrated Target’s systems, stealing payment card data. It appears the attacker gained a foothold in Target’s systems, by using the access credentials of a refrigeration and HVAC company who worked at several Target locations. There is no evidence, to date, either the refrigeration or HVAC systems were involved in the attack. There is evidence of a phishing attack involving malware.

We bring this story to your attention as a reason to reiterate how we handle our public communication plan. We use:

  • GNU remotecontrol - Mailing Lists as our primary means of crisis and announcement communication. This is the only list, for now. An alias from bug-remotecontrol is in place.
  • GNU remotecontrol – News as our secondary means of crisis and announcement communication.
  • GNU remotecontrol – Newsletter (Blog) as our tertiary means of communication, though we do not use it for crisis or announcement communication. The Blog is a newsletter style format. This format provides the ability to get pertinent information GNU remotecontrol users, though not critically important to them.

We do hope there is never a security concern involving GNU remotecontrol. However, in the event any form of crisis involving GNU remotecontrol does occur, we want to be capable and ready to address the crisis as quickly and effectively as possible. Please note the Key Principles of Choosing Decision Makers and Security Considerations are addressed in the GNU remotecontrol manual, as part of our collective preemptive efforts to avoid a security incident.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

-EXISTING CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

BUGS
We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

-SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

INDUSTRIAL CONTROL SYSTEMS
A presentation from the Black Hat Briefings - 2013 USA Conference, explaining the exploration of the Teridian System on a Chip (SoC), along with scenarios and techniques to attack the Harvard Architecture Smart Grid Systems, demonstrating pathways to gain coveted binary images of firmware and resident code execution.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

-LASTLY
Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

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