Newsletter – May 2015


 TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past


February March Trend % Change
$0.138 $0.136 Decrease -1.45%


Year March Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.094 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.109 Increase 15.96% 15.96% 15.96%
2007 $0.113 Increase 3.67% 20.21% 4.26%
2008 $0.116 Increase 2.65% 23.40% 3.19%
2009 $0.126 Increase 8.62% 34.04% 10.64%
2010 $0.125 Decrease -0.79% 32.98% -1.06%
2011 $0.127 Increase 1.60% 35.11% 2.13%
2012 $0.127 Same 0.00% 35.11% 0.00%
2013 $0.128 Increase 0.79% 36.17% 1.06%
2014 $0.135 Increase 5.47% 43.62% 7.45%
2015 $0.136 Increase 0.74% 44.68% 1.06%

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past

London by night, seen from the International Space Station

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
The United States Congress has passed legislation forcing electric water heaters of a particular size to be connected to the national Smart Grid, under the discretion of the Secretary of Energy. The President of the United States has signed this bill into law. The exact language of the law states:

“(ii) GRID-ENABLED WATER HEATER.—The term ‘grid-enabled water heater’ means an electric resistance water heater that—
“(I) has a rated storage tank volume of more than 75 gallons;
“(II) is manufactured on or after April 16, 2015;

The connection methodology of this law states:
“(iv) REQUIREMENTS.—In carrying out this paragraph, the Secretary shall require that grid-enabled water heaters be equipped with communication capability to enable the grid-enabled water heaters to participate in ancillary services programs if the Secretary determines that the technology is available, practical, and cost-effective.”;

It is recommended to read the entire law, to completely understand the scope of the impact. The biggest impact is residential housing is now mandated to connect to the Smart Grid, given these specifications, meaning irrevocable cultural impact. It is reasonable to conclude other residential technologies will also be required to connect to the Smart Grid at some future date, through some form of federal legislation.

The United States Supreme Court recently reviewed the request to have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) both define and regulate Demand Response. The court has announced they have accepted the case. An analysis of the announcement is presented. A recent article affirms there is no certainly in Demand Response efforts until authority is both defined and assigned.

Smart Grid – Consumer
The first Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) is complete. An article reviewing thirteen key findings from the QER shows a decoupling of electricity demand and economic growth. This could make sense, if a productive economy using much energy, such as factories, existed compared to a consumer and services economy. This decoupling finding does not match other economic data, claiming high factory output nationally. The QER will take a few years for analysts and statisticians to consume and understand. If this decoupling claim is true, then the electrical industry has truly shifted to consumer dominance. A relevant article supports this reasoning. The latest study on Smart Grid efficiency benefits finds there is a clear need for much more research data to understand if efficiency gains are occurring. This data will not be available until more technologies are developed, such as a specification for an internationally accepted technology standard for the residential network connected HVAC thermostat. A recent survey shows most consumers essentially care about an even spread of topics, though with more on the environmental side. An economic commentary supports the position efficiency gains will only come when the utility and the consumer are each participating in a mutually beneficial relationship. There is more and more indication this relationship will need an extremely detailed billing statement before either party will commit to finding efficiency gains. A commentator is convinced there is plenty of marketing in play, but little hard evidence one way or the other, until more data is captured to prove how to obtain efficiency. It is our considered opinion this data will not be obtained until there is more agreement on international standards, structured testing is achieved, and the data is accredited. A lack of agreement on testing can easily invalidate any data obtained by testing.

Smart Grid – Producer
A recent article clearly states the future for any utility mandates improved grid resiliency. This improvement is constantly questioned by the impact of weather on any resiliency goals. Another article affirms the position the Smart Grid does offer safer options compared to the grid technologies of today. A research effort shows the Smart Grid business drivers are coming from power-hungry states. This is no surprise, but affirmation the market plays a big part in driving technology adoption. There is clear evidence to justify upgrading any grid segment with suitable information technologies.

Smart Grid – Security
An article discussing a recent speech, regarding security and the Internet of Things impacting the electric supply industry. The voiced concern is change is happening too fast, while system patching and updating are struggling to occur. The resulting risk is too many new technologies impacting older technologies with results unable to be seen, due to poor structured testing. The unstated recommendation is to either slow down implementing unproven technologies or improve testing methodologies.


Status of our 2015 Plan


  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

Translation Subsystem

  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.


  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

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


We are receiving various emails, asking when we will release version 2.0 to the public. We are pleased to hear the interest and demand. We plan to have version 2.0 ready for enterprise usage. We have a substantial structured testing effort to accomplish, to justify the position we are ready for enterprise usage. The combination of Model-View-Controller and further automation efforts will help us deliver on being ready to interface with other existing software technologies. Please contact us, if you would like to participate in the completion of version 2.0.

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 CODEThe stuff you may want to consider

We have 3 new bugs and 2 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.

SECURITYThe stuff you REALLY want to consider

A good acronym for the term fear is False Evidence Assuming Reality. We do not support the position of not acting, for the sake of waiting. Neither do we support the position of acting without considering and preparing. Achieving an internationally accepted technology standard for the residential network connected HVAC thermostat is part of our strategy to implement GNU remotecontrol. Structured testing of version 2.0 is also part of our strategy. Providing assured evidence and assuming nothing helps to keep reality, well…real.

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

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