Newsletter – July 2015


TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

April May Trend % Change
$0.137 $0.137 Same 0.00%
Year May Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.097 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.110 Increase 13.40% 13.40% 13.40%
2007 $0.115 Increase 4.55% 18.56% 5.15%
2008 $0.120 Increase 4.35% 23.71% 5.15%
2009 $0.126 Increase 5.00% 29.90% 6.19%
2010 $0.127 Increase 0.79% 30.93% 1.03%
2011 $0.129 Increase 1.57% 32.99% 2.06%
2012 $0.129 Same 0.00% 32.99% 0.00%
2013 $0.131 Increase 1.55% 35.05% 2.06%
2014 $0.136 Increase 3.82% 40.21% 5.15%
2015 $0.137 Increase 0.74% 41.24% 1.03%


United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past


London by night

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
The clear message in play now, from many sources, is Demand Response has a money problem. The problem seems to be driven by not having a sound financial plan to replace thousands of miles of supply and distribution lines with new technologies called the Smart Grid. This problem is no surprise, as any sound strategy involves both supply and execution planning. A recent decision has approved substantial modifications to a capacity market framework, known as the Reliability Pricing Model (RPM). Many industry observers believe this decision will lead to substantial increases in capacity prices, spurring the development of Demand Response resources. Another article affirms Demand Response spending has officially stalled. “Leadership of the utility sector has really embraced energy efficiency as a core part of their business…” They now have to find the willingness to spend money. A consistent article holds the position Demand Response is key to utilities’ survival. This is a strong statement, but a well-supported argument justifies this position. GNU remotecontrol maintains our long held position, as stated in our 2014 FSF interview, the success of the Smart Grid, in the context of the network connected HVAC thermostat, requires a team of the financial officer, mechanical engineer, and information technology to find how to make the Smart Grid a sustainable reality.

Smart Grid – Consumer
An article reports the national electrical grid is getting smarter, but the average consumer customer is not realizing the benefits. This condition is due to the presence of electric meters speaking with the Smart Grid, though not too many appliances and devices in the customer residence. This condition is caused by a lack of clear interoperable standards enabling mass production and commoditization of appliances and devices. A short-term gain can be realized by helping customers see in their electric bill how lesser spending impacts their purchasing value. This gain is realized by improved customer relation management on the part of the electricity provider. This gain also positions the electricity provider to better respond when appliances and devices begin to become part of the Smart Grid. A related article finds Google Nest is providing more devices for sale, but not providing energy management applications, let alone application capabilities including security, convenience and connectivity. A relevant article finds the Apple Siri Smart Home has stumbled from their launch, from design failures causing tenuous reliability. This is a clear pattern money and size, alone or combined, do not necessarily deliver a viable network connected HVAC thermostat management strategy, let alone a software application.

Smart Grid – Producer
A recent study found consumers are not unjustified to waive weatherization subsidies, to achieve energy efficiency. This finding is determined as the return on the investment is not enough to justify the investment expense. Again, strong evidence the consumer is mindful of the cost to achieve efficiency and is pursuing more viable options. A related article found little to no economic value gained by in-home displays for implementing time-of-use electricity pricing plans. People are not willing to stand and wait for a message to purchase electricity at a lower rate. Another delivery mechanism must be found to offer the lower purchase rate. A recent report provides recommendations of how to effectively achieve time-of-use electricity pricing plans. Again, the source of the problem to find energy efficiency is a financial problem, due to not offering what people want to purchase in the manner they want to purchase. This is more than a marketing or technology problem.


Status of our 2015 Plan


  • We are in development stage.
  • We are approximately 80% finished with development.
  • We have simplified index.php to have lesser fields for displaying thermostat profiles, through the usage of supporting web forms.
  • These additional web forms accommodate handling more information and separating information changing on a less frequent basis from the view of index.php page.
  • We have separated sensor calibration from the index.php page, to avoid any risk of inadvertently altering calibration settings.
  • We have achieved selecting thermostats by group functionality.
  • The outcome is only viewing what is necessary for changing HVAC control settings.
  • We are prepared to immediately enter structured system testing, upon completion of development.
  • We maintain our position to release a subsequent version, 2.1, within six months of releasing v2.0, as we do not want to delay MVC from being available to the general public.

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.


Our efforts to read from and write to the network connected HVAC thermostat, in combination with gathering data from weather stations, has resulted in identifying usage patterns we did not expect. Visualization has helped us identity these patterns. Specifically, the ability to know with a considerable amount of accuracy how much energy it will take to either heat or cool a facility, based upon historical run time of the equipment. A pertinent article addressed the benefits of visualization. We have rendered the data we have collected in various graphs and charts. An excellent example of successfully combining data and visualization is the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System. We see no reason not to include visualization in GNU remotecontrol. We have decided to include this visualization functionality in a future release. We estimate this functionality will be developed and released in either version 2.2 or 3.0, depending upon user feedback.

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 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.

SECURITYThe stuff you REALLY want to consider

A common security threat is one computer posing as another computer. This is also true at the device level. We identify the need to mature the firmware running on all known network connected HVAC thermostats, to have improved security capabilities. We are discussing this need now, both internally and externally, to determine how we can better assist with providing security measures to prevent against any form of thermostat hijacking. We first discussed this concept in our February 2013 edition. The risk of convenience through remote access is too great of risk to bear, given the impact of nefarious activity with your HVAC system.

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

One Response to Newsletter – July 2015

  1. Pingback: GNU Remotecontrol: Newsletter – July 2015 | MySQL Free

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