Newsletter – August 2014


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.)

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.

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.

The stuff we are talking about now…..

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


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.

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…..

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.

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.


Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

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