Newsletter – April 2014


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

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.

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.

The stuff we are talking about now…..

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.

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.

The stuff you may want to consider…..

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.

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.

The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

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.

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.

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.



6 Responses to Newsletter – April 2014

  1. Pingback: Newsletter – May 2014 | GNU remotecontrol

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