Newsletter – June 2014


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

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.

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.

The stuff we are talking about now…..

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.

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…..

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.

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.


5 Responses to Newsletter – June 2014

  1. Pingback: GNU Remotecontrol: Newsletter – June 2014 | Open World

  2. Pingback: Links 8/6/2014: Valve Funds Mesa Development, SQLite 3.8.5 Released | Techrights

  3. Pingback: Newsletter – July 2014 | GNU remotecontrol

  4. Pingback: Newsletter – December 2014 | GNU remotecontrol

  5. Pingback: Newsletter – June 2016 | GNU remotecontrol

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: