Newsletter – June 2017

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • FIRMWARE
  • THERMOSTAT DEVICE OPTIONS
  • WORK PACKAGE PHASES
  • PROJECT NEEDS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • LASTLY
TRENDS

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

EYE CATCHING

Demand Response
An article sharing Honeywell is now providing three utilities with Smart Grid services. An article last fall considered if the time has come to deregulate all electric utilities. Deregulation proponents argue industry deregulation is the best way to lower costs and increase innovation. Deregulation antagonists argue the evidence so far shows little benefit to customers. An article sharing Schneider Electric has sold their data-software unit called DTN for $900 Million USD. An article sharing the search to find the balance between temperature and humidity in an office has resulted in cubicle area managers funding internal payments for immediate changes to HVAC settings. A survey of consumer perspectives regarding their Smart Grid interests revealed respondents cared primarily about saving money through time-of-use pricing in a Demand Response relationship with their utility provider.

Adoption of the Smart Grid is being driven now by customer financial capital savings. There is more interest to save money than address widespread environmental impact. The Demand Response model is advancing without concern for cyber security, as we identify in the following sections of this newsletter edition.

Smart Grid – Security
An article reporting the United States has tasked the Pentagon with the responsibility to protect the electric grid from attack by a cyber attack or atmospheric nuclear blast. The Pentagon has tasked the Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization Systems (RADICS) to lead the protection effort. An article last year provided a thorough explanation of the smart meters in use today. An article sharing the United Kingdom placed their airports and nuclear power stations on terror alert from a credible cyber-related threat. An article sharing energy executives are pressing government agencies for more security clearance to fight cyber-related attacks on energy-related infrastructure. An article sharing United States lawmakers call for a pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities.

The energy generation and distribution leaders, along with both lawmakers and defense department officials, are stating it is unsafe now to connect the national electrical grid to Demand Response by way of the Internet. It is difficult to believe an unsafe connection to the Internet will bring a good result. Good, meaning non-harmful to personal safety nor cause unnecessary risk.

Unlike
The argument supporting the position accessing the Smart Grid by using a mobile device application is no different from accessing a financial institution such as a bank by using a mobile device application is an uninformed debate. If all software applications were the same, then there would be no reason for software security. The GNU remotecontrol team considered this argument and found many differences between mobile device applications involving both the Smart Grid and financial institutions.

First, defense officials, industry executives, and lawmakers stated above it is not possible to defend the Smart Grid from cyber-related attack. Second, the United States Federal Reserve has accumulated substantive information regarding electronic, mobile and online banking. Third, they offer a course called E-Banking/Mobile Banking providing “a detailed understanding of the technologies and risks fundamental to electronic banking (e-banking) and mobile banking.” Fourth, they provide their annual Consumers and Mobile Financial Services, last posted March 2016, describing “consumers’ use of mobile financial services”. Finally, the United States Federal Communications Commission warns against “mobile wallet services to conduct financial transactions over an unsecured Wi-Fi network.

GNU remotecontrol does not find within the Smart Grid industry today regulation of any mobile device access to the Smart Grid. Neither do we find Smart Grid members are under a statute to safeguard against the security concerns identified by both the Federal Reserve and the Federal Communications Commission. Finally, we see no evidence either network connected HVAC (smart) thermostat manufacturers or software applications communicating with smart thermostats are bound by the statutes found in the banking industry.

Our conclusion is using a mobile device application involving the Smart Grid is not the same as using a mobile device application involving banking. They are dissimilar, discordant, incompatible, and unrelated. The GNU remotecontrol interface is a web application. GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. A mobile application is “an application software designed to run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.” The security model used in a mobile application is not the same security model used in a web application. Both models are software based, but they are nowhere near the same code design. We agree web application security is a concern, but hold the position web application security has a much lesser risk of compromise than mobile application security. This position could change in the future, but we do not see this change occurring in the foreseeable future.

Factorial Facts
The GNU remotecontrol team considered at the beginning of the software project, over a decade ago, the multiple interfaces required to achieve Demand Response with the Smart Grid using a smart thermostat. The rising interest to access a smart thermostat by a third party involving a cellular network introduces a security concern. The cellular network accessing the Smart Grid could advance any cyber attack. Consideration of factorial evaluation reveals there are many interfaces involved from the perspective of role-based access control.

A factorial calculation of a non-negative integer n denoted by n! is “the product of all positive integers less than or equal to n.” A dominant benefit of a factorial calculation is discovering how many arrangements, what we identify as relationships, exists within a distinct list of objects, items, or any other unique entity. Let’s consider a simple example of only the service providers involved with Demand Response.

(1) Electricity Utility provider
(1) Demand Response service provider

n = 2

2! = 2 x 1 = 2

This example has two different relationships occurring simultaneously. Let’s now add in the Cellular Phone service provider. The number of relationships is more than doubled.

(1) Electricity Utility provider
(1) Demand Response service provider
(1) Cellular Phone service provider

n = 3

3! = 3 x 2 x 1 = 6

This example has six different relationships occurring simultaneously. Each relationship must always be secure not to suffer nefarious activity to the smart thermostat. Let’s now consider the addition of the smart thermostat’s manufacturer accessing the thermostat.

(1) Electricity Utility provider
(1) Demand Response service provider
(1) Cellular Phone service provider
(1) Smart Thermostat’s manufacturer

n = 4

4! = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 24

This example has twenty-four different relationships occurring simultaneously. This amount is a staggering number to believe all relationships will operate without compromise. Finally, let’s add in an application installed on the mobile device to accomplish real-time communication with the smart thermostat owner leveraging Demand Response from the Electricity Utility.

(1) Electricity Utility provider
(1) Demand Response service provider
(1) Cellular Phone service provider
(1) Smart Thermostat’s manufacturer
(1) Demand Response software application

n = 5

5! = 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 120

This example has one hundred twenty different relationships occurring simultaneously. The different providers must work with a clear plan of operation to achieve their objective successfully. It is difficult to believe the Smart Grid today is ready for this operational complexity.

The articles sharing the Pentagon has only recently tasked RADICS to lead the protection effort against attack by a cyber attack, energy executives are pressing government agencies for more security clearance to fight cyber-related attacks on energy-related infrastructure, and United States lawmakers call for pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities collectively proves there is no widespread confidence the Smart Grid can defend against energy sector vulnerabilities. This conclusion is supported by the statement of defense officials, energy industry executives, and lawmakers. The Smart Grid today is not ready operationally for Demand Response involving real-time customer input to either accept or reject time-of-use pricing offers.

FIRMWARE

We shared in our March 2017 newsletter edition we have elevated our firmware work to a dedicated section in our newsletter. GNU remotecontrol shared in 2016 we have entered the firmware aspect of the smart thermostat. We now share publicly for the first time our specific plans to accomplish building our virtualized smart thermostat.

Our build plans are pretty simple. First, we select a kernel. Second, we select what applications we need to use in our firmware. Third, we add our original code for thermostat functionality to the kernel and applications. Finally, we build the kernel, applications, and our original code into a portable container, a hypervisor, for ease of usage. We have selected VirtualBox as our container for portability. We can easily scale multiple virtualized thermostats once our work is in a portable container. This approach should accelerate further development efforts, as obtaining the virtualized smart thermostat is much less effort than compiling the source code. We then refine our virtualized smart thermostat and develop our work to live on a circuit board within a smart thermostat. Our kernel consideration is down to two kernel options.

Option 1 – CoreOS
CoreOS has a feature-rich offering. We see much active development in the CoreOS project. We do not believe we will need all of the CoreOS source code to build our virtualized smart thermostat.

Option 2 – libreCMC
libreCMC also has a feature-rich offering. We do not see as much active development in the libreCMC project as we do in the CoreOS project. We are uncertain if we will need all of the libreCMC source code to build our virtualized smart thermostat.

We are struggling to reach a decision of which kernel to select. We may select both kernels if we have the developers to do the work. Comparing the strengths and weaknesses of CoreOS to the strengths and weaknesses of libreCMC has consumed much of our time and effort. Talk to us if you would like to participate in this new part of the GNU remotecontrol framework.

THERMOSTAT DEVICE OPTIONS

We shared in our March 2017 newsletter edition of our new section to both identify and discuss available Smart Thermostat options in consideration with internationally accepted technology standards. This section provides insight into each offering as new information becomes available. We add Ecobee this month to our list of smart thermostat device options.

Ecobee
The Ecobee product line is owned by Ecobee. Their API seems impressive initially, but a deeper review finds they only use an HTTP-based interface for accessing their thermostat device. They have an authorization token and PIN model for device authentication. They do offer https with their Authorization Code Authorization Strategy. Ecobee integrates with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Control4, Haiku Fans, IFTTT, Logitech Harmony, Samsung SmartThings, Vera, and Wink. Ecobee has external sensors connecting to their thermostat by an uncertain type of wireless connection.

A recent article claims the Ecobee offering is the best smart thermostat on the market today. This milestone takes Nest out of first place, a position Nest has held for just over the past five years. Ecobee is indeed the most feature-rich smart thermostat offering in the marketplace today.

Wired Access: No
Wi-Fi Access: Yes
ZigBee Access: Yes
API: Yes
License: Proprietary

Nest
No new findings.

Sensi
No new findings.

Carrier
No new findings.

Honeywell
No new findings.

WORK PACKAGE PHASES

GNU remotecontrol accomplishes productive work output through structured work packages. This approach helps to organize our efforts and keep things on track to achieve publishing our work. We have ten different phases for our work packages.

GNU remotecontrol Work Package Phases

Order Label Name
1 REQ Requirements
2 DSG Design
3 DEV Development
4 UNT Unit Testing
5 SYS System Testing
6 UAT User Acceptance Testing
7 DOC Documentation
8 RLS Release
9 TRN Training
10 SPT Support

The GNU remotecontrol team does not perform any work output outside of structured work packages.

PROJECT NEEDS

Staffing
GNU remotecontrol Project Help Wanted
.

New Thermostats
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.

EXISTING CODE

Bugs
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.

Tasks
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.

LASTLY

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.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – March 2017

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • FIRMWARE
  • THERMOSTAT DEVICE OPTIONS
  • WORK PACKAGE PHASES
  • PROJECT NEEDS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • LASTLY
TRENDS

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

EYE CATCHING

Demand Response
The United States Department of Energy has released the second installment of their Quadrennial Energy Review. The findings identify the need for seventy-six recommendations to better formulate a strategy for a national Smart Grid. An article finding more contention between wholesale and retail energy markets. An article describing the concern held by public utilities about transactive energy.

The oligopoly nature of an electricity provider, either wholesale or retail, is being changed to more of a perfect competition nature by transactive energy. The more change in any unit price, such as when energy is purchased and used, the less control the electricity provider has in their microeconomics relationship with their customer. The energy markets will need to learn how to succeed in this new role, as they have not historically participated in the microeconomics arena.

Smart Grid – Security
An article identifying hotel room HVAC thermostats are being controlled beyond room occupant preferences by hotel management. The Honeywell XL Web II Controller has been identified as having a vulnerability exposing a user password by accessing a specific URL. A report by the United States Department of Energy found the risk of cyber attack on the national electrical grid is high.

The journey to a national Smart Grid is not without arduous steps. Technology weaknesses are being exposed as are strategy flaws. The inability of an occupant to control room temperature is an example of how overreach can disable adoption of any leadership strategy.

New Technologies
An effort to develop a distributed sensor network powered by excess radio waves is close to completion. The sensors measure temperature and humidity levels in a dwelling. Feeding this data to an energy management strategy would substantially increase the effectiveness of an energy usage strategy.

A company providing a product to control the opening and closing of duct systems. Unfortunately, they use a proprietary radio frequency, has no API, and have no network security beyond a password. The concept is wonderful and would do well to not use proprietary and weak components in their product technology strategy.

FIRMWARE

We have elevated our firmware work to a dedicated section in our newsletter. GNU remotecontrol shared in 2016 we have entered the firmware aspect of the residential network connected HVAC thermostat (smart) thermostat. We are in the process of selecting a kernel distribution. We are down to two kernel candidates. An outcome of our firmware effort is answering the many questions about the existing firmware features in the thermostat devices available today. We address these questions in the following section.

THERMOSTAT DEVICE OPTIONS

We add a new section to our newsletter for 2017. The purpose of this section is to both identify and discuss available residential network connected HVAC (smart) thermostat options in consideration with internationally accepted technology standards. This section provides insight into each offering as new information becomes available.

The present market status is to force the thermostat owner to use a third-party to access their thermostat device. Device control and privacy are not clearly defined when a third-party is involved. The mandate to use a third-party to access the thermostat device provides no user rights for accessing their thermostat beyond what the third-party allows. Furthermore, no privacy rights are provided to the thermostat owner regarding either access to the thermostat device or the data generated by the device. Overriding third-party access restrictions for the thermostat owner is best accomplished by the thermostat manufacturer developing and releasing an Application Programming Interface (API) for the thermostat owner to access their thermostat device.

We identify five commonly asked questions about a thermostat device. There are three questions about the network connectivity to access a device, one question about API availability, and one question about the type of license provided by the technology owner. This list is not meant to be comprehensive.

Nest
The Nest product line has already been well-discussed in previous newsletters.

Wired Access: No
Wi-Fi Access: Yes
ZigBee Access: Yes
API: Yes
License: Proprietary

Sensi
Sensi is a technology protocol owned by Emerson Electronics. They licensed their technology to various electronics manufacturers. They are also working with Amazon for their Alexa product line to integrate with Sensi.

Wired Access: No
Wi-Fi Access: Yes
ZigBee Access: No
API: No
License: Proprietary

Carrier
The Cor product line is owned by Carrier. Carrier formed a strategic relationship with Ecobee to use their API.

Wired Access: No
Wi-Fi Access: Yes
ZigBee Access: No
API: Yes
License: Proprietary

Honeywell
The Lyric product line is owned by Honeywell. The product is a member of their Smart Energy division. They have partnered with a data analytics firm to find energy usage patterns. They are also working with Amazon for their Echo product line to integrate with Lyric.

Wired Access: No
Wi-Fi Access: Yes
ZigBee Access: No
API: Yes
License: Proprietary

Conclusion
The resounding message from these thermostat device manufacturers is they are integrating their products with complementary technologies. This association causes a new relationship to exist between technology owner licensing and the thermostat device owner. Furthermore, the purchase today of a thermostat device does not mean the thermostat device will not be forced to interface with another technology in the future. This scenario occurred when Google purchased Nest. The absence of complete device control by the device owner has resulted in a confusing position for the home insurance industry to clearly understand and insure against risks. The electronics manufacturing industry presently does not want the owner of a thermostat device to have direct access to their thermostat device. Hopefully, this position will change when it is evident forcing a third-party to be involved is not producing enough satisfaction on the part of those either manufacturing or purchasing these thermostat devices, and when the technology owners are willing to end their insistence to use a proprietary technology license.

WORK PACKAGE PHASES

GNU remotecontrol accomplishes productive work output through structured work packages. This approach helps to organize our efforts and keep things on track to achieve publishing our work. We have ten different phases for our work packages.

GNU remotecontrol Work Package Phases

Order Label Name
1 REQ Requirements
2 DSG Design
3 DEV Development
4 UNT Unit Testing
5 SYS System Testing
6 UAT User Acceptance Testing
7 DOC Documentation
8 RLS Release
9 TRN Training
10 SPT Support

The GNU remotecontrol team does not perform any work output outside of structured work packages.

PROJECT NEEDS

Staffing
GNU remotecontrol Project Help Wanted
.

New Thermostats
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.

EXISTING CODE

Bugs
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.

Tasks
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.

LASTLY

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.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – September 2016

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • WORK PACKAGE PHASES
  • PROJECT NEEDS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • LASTLY
TRENDS

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

EYE CATCHING

Demand Response
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy announced their latest report the United States has moved from thirteen to eight in global positioning regarding efficiency rankings over the past two years. A product review reported Schneider Electric’s Wiser Air thermostat has gained energy consumption analysis improvements. Nest has simplified accessing time-of-use electric plans. An article shared numerous complaints have been filed by states accomplishing energy efficiency policies juxtaposed against the federal position on wholesale energy authority. A study finding smart thermostat revenue is expected to quadruple in the next ten years. An article finding the smart home will take longer to mature due to, “a lack of standardisation (sic) means that gadgets from different firms cannot communicate with each other.” A case study of setting an office ambient temperature for the occupants to find comfort. An article finding utility stocks are more financially dangerous than they appear.

The money to fund both the smart grid and the smart home is clearly turning over at faster money velocity with each passing month. The associated products and services for sale are more prevalent with each day, too. The unwillingness to either define a comprehensive standard or adhere to an agreed upon standards set is stupefying this market sector and subsequently the energy industry. The reason is mostly from the unwillingness to bear the risk involved with interoperability. This unwillingness suffers the ability to establish a system. There are isolated pieces of success but nothing close to a smart grid or a smart system running a home.

Smart Grid – Security

EE Times reported the JupiterMesh project is growing in capabilities. Oddly, JupiterMesh reports it is based on, “IEEE 802.15.4e/g media access control and physical layers” and supports, “IETF security protocols such as PANA, EAP-TLS and HIP-DEX for network access authentication and key distribution, and AES-128-CCM-based message authentication and encryption” but does not explain how they accomplish providing security to the network and transport layers. The ZigBee position is they are not responsible for these later layers. The absence of layer-to-layer security is a critical design flaw in this technology model.

An article reporting the United States Department of Energy has spent thirty-four million USD for improved information technology security associated with the national electrical grid while the FERC has requested comments regarding a new set of technologies standards. A recently released book explains how to infiltrate many technologies related to the Internet of Things concept.

Clearly, those involved with the security aspect of the smart grid are the most popular in this market segment. The ability to access smart grid technologies is so concise a book has been written and commercially published instructing how to violate these technologies. The existing grid cannot be protected fast enough while more technologies are implemented to make the grid more intelligent. The result is less security of the existing national electrical grid.

DISCUSSIONS

FIRMWARE
GNU remotecontrol shared earlier this year we have entered the firmware aspect of the residential network connected HVAC thermostat (smart) thermostat. We are in the process of establishing strategic partnerships to further this effort of the software project. The discussions are going well. Stay tuned for more information.

WORK PACKAGE PHASES

GNU remotecontrol accomplishes productive work output through structured work packages. This approach helps to organize our efforts and keep things on track to achieve publishing our work. We have ten different phases for our work packages.

GNU remotecontrol Work Package Phases

Order Label Name
1 REQ Requirements
2 DSG Design
3 DEV Development
4 UNT Unit Testing
5 SYS System Testing
6 UAT User Acceptance Testing
7 DOC Documentation
8 RLS Release
9 TRN Training
10 SPT Support

The GNU remotecontrol team does not perform any work output outside of structured work packages.

PROJECT NEEDS

Staffing
GNU remotecontrol Project Help Wanted

https://savannah.gnu.org/people/?group=remotecontrol

New Thermostats
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.

EXISTING CODE

BUGS
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.

TASKS
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.

LASTLY

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.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – October 2015

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • ANNUAL PLAN
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • SECURITY
  • LASTLY
TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

 

July August Trend % Change
$0.142 $0.142 Same 0.00%

 

Year August Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.105 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.118 Increase 12.38% 12.38% 12.38%
2007 $0.121 Increase 2.54% 15.24% 2.86%
2008 $0.132 Increase 9.09% 25.71% 10.48%
2009 $0.130 Decrease -1.52% 23.81% -1.90%
2010 $0.133 Increase 2.31% 26.67% 2.86%
2011 $0.135 Increase 1.50% 28.57% 1.90%
2012 $0.133 Decrease -1.48% 26.67% -1.90%
2013 $0.137 Increase 3.01% 30.48% 3.81%
2014 $0.143 Increase 4.38% 36.19% 5.71%
2015 $0.142 Decrease -0.70% 35.24% -0.95%

 

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past

London_Night

London by night

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
Accenture and Siemens announced a large effort, a joint venture called OMNETRIC Group, focused on the Smart Grid. They are starting in Brazil and expect to grow throughout Latin America. Schneider Electric and IPKeys Technologies announced a smaller effort, a partnership to monitor energy performance in near real-time, track energy savings, and actively participate in automated Demand Response events. A recent report provides insight to the $3.45B USD in spending on Smart Grid efforts since 2009. Another report shows Asia is growing in Demand Response at a much faster rate than the United States. The 2nd Demand Response World Forum has considerably grown in scope since last year. The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments 14 October 2015 to decide who has the authority to regulate Demand Response in the United States.

The market growth and pending court decision for Demand Response indicate the quickly growth trend to achieve Demand Response, at least in the United States. It is unlikely the court will defer a ruling in need of more information. The court ruling will either give the authority to the Federal or State level. Industries and market sectors will quickly move to align with this pending ruling.

Smart Grid – Consumer
An article provides an example of how to deploy residential energy efficiency in the market of today. The example found the ability to achieve a 28% reduction in annual energy consumption. Comcast has partnered with Crius Energy to provide energy efficiency strategies for the residential HVAC thermostat. Emerson has released their Sensi Wi-Fi enabled residential HVAC thermostat.

The majority of the network connected residential HVAC thermostats do not provide the device owner any ability to directly access their own device, their own property. The thermostat device connects through the Internet to the device manufacturer and the device owner connects to the manufacturer through the Internet. This is fine, until the day comes when the manufacturer is out of business. Additionally, there is no standardization in connecting to the device. Each manufacturer has their own proprietary technology combination. The market trend is to sell the lowest priced thermostat device by means of an energy efficiency strategy, then try to connect the device to the growing Demand Response trend. This combination means the device owner has their information provided to the utility partnering with the device manufacturer to achieve any Demand Response effort. No data privacy rights are provided to the device owner.

Smart Grid – Producer
The United States Department of Energy released more Quadrennial Technology Review information. The report shows rapid change in the structuring of energy production and consumption. IEEE Smart Grid introduced a Smart Grid Framework. They have an idea to establish Smart Grid Domains and Sub-Domains. This framework will assist in accomplishing their Transactive Control idea.

The United States and IEEE are rapidly seeking to update the national electrical grid with automation. The standards and frameworks abound, to enable public utilities to mature and join the Smart Grid. There is little discussion of data privacy for the residential customer. The pending Supreme Court decision for Demand Response will most likely contain the only data privacy rights the residential customer will receive for a long, long time.

Smart Grid – Security
Nest has released their Weave communication protocol to the general public. The Nest effort is a direct challenge to the Apple HomeKit. Nest Weave works with Wi-Fi and the ZigBee interpretation from the Thread Group. Apple HomeKit works with both Wi-Fi and ZigBee. It is unclear who will have the final responsibility for security. GNU remotecontrol has voiced much concern about ZigBee.

It does seem strange no network connected residential HVAC thermostat device manufacturer can develop an end-to-end security strategy. If they can, then they are unwilling to present such a strategy. Determining liability in the event of a security compromise will be difficult, if not impossible, for those suffering from the security compromise.

ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • We are in TESTING stage.
  • We are approximately 40% finished with TESTING.
  • We are testing with both Apache and Nginx.
  • More work on the items addressed in the September 2015 newsletter.

Translation Subsystem

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

ANSI C

  • 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.

DISCUSSIONS

THE GLOBAL NOBLE
We speak with people all over the world about energy efficiency. We are constantly amazed at how cold climate cultures have little to no idea about air conditioning, while warm climate cultures have little to no idea about heating. They both care about ventilation and relative humidity. The help received by the GNU remotecontrol project is also amazing. We calculated the total contribution of labor in the millions of USD. This is not unique to a software project. All the same, we take this opportunity to acknowledge the many contributions from well over a hundred people who have helped GNU remotecontrol arrive at this point. We expect to release our latest work by the end of 2015. It is taking longer than we expected, but it will be well worth the wait. All of the reviewers who have seen the work are quite pleased with the changes since version 1.1. We have every reason to expect the general public will be similarly pleased.

Please contact us, if you would like to participate in the completion of version 2.0.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
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

BUGS
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.

TASKS
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

SMART HOME RISKS
A recent article explained how the Internet of Things is bringing substantial risk to the homeowner of today. The article does not excite fear mongering, but it does clearly explain how easy it is to access a home using poorly secured Smart Home technologies.

REMEMBER
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.

LASTLY

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.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – August 2015

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • ANNUAL PLAN
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • SECURITY
  • LASTLY
TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

 

May June Trend % Change
$0.137 $0.143 Increase 4.38%

 

Year June Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.104 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.118 Increase 13.46% 13.46% 13.46%
2007 $0.122 Increase 3.39% 17.31% 3.85%
2008 $0.128 Increase 4.92% 23.08% 5.77%
2009 $0.132 Increase 3.13% 26.92% 3.85%
2010 $0.132 Same 0.00% 26.92% 0.00%
2011 $0.134 Increase 1.52% 28.85% 1.92%
2012 $0.135 Increase 0.75% 29.81% 0.96%
2013 $0.137 Increase 1.48% 31.73% 1.92%
2014 $0.143 Increase 4.38% 37.50% 5.77%
2015 $0.143 Same 0.00% 37.50% 0.00%

 

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past

London_Night

London by night

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
The push to determine authority for the topic of Demand Response seldom has a boring moment. An article describing the legal briefs to establish Demand Response authority demonstrate the intense desire to capture this segment of the up and coming Smart Grid. A commentary on the Demand Response topic found there is little chance of Demand Response not occurring with an established Smart Grid. California has recently approved a significant rate structure reform plan for residential electricity cost, centering around the time of use policy for achieving Demand Response. An analysis of commercial property using Demand Response found the necessity to earn a tax credit is in the automation aspect of Demand Response. AVEVA entered a sale of assets to Schneider Electric, for automating industrial efforts to help design and operate engineering projects. This move is clearly positioning Schneider to accomplish Demand Response for managing energy production in relationship to time of use pricing for any energy customer.

There is no doubt the insistence to have FERC Order 745 approved by the Supreme Court as valid authority has the attention of all involved in the Smart Grid. The suitable pursuit of an organization positioning their connection to the Smart Grid is led by both participation cost and data privacy. The latter is more likely the determining factor in participation cost, as data privacy involves both security against and liability for suffering a data breech. The struggle to define valid authority is a clear indication the future of the Smart Grid will have Demand Response not only as a part of the Smart Grid but most likely a mandate of the next generation national electrical grid.

Smart Grid – Consumer
A recent article found nearly half of the network enabled HVAC thermostats sold are connected two-way thermostats, opening up many options for utilities. Even some telecommunication companies are selling network connected HVAC thermostats as a package to help sell other offerings. The dominant player in this space is undoubtedly Nest. Nest is not sold on a global basis, but in about a half-dozen countries. This small footprint means the network enabled HVAC thermostat is not a globally needed technology in the global market of today. A segment of the global market clearly wants network connected technologies, but assembling them in a wise manner is a bit of a challenge. A recent article found technologies can assist to operate a home but do not necessarily make life easier. The recent Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study found ongoing communication efforts and increased price satisfaction are key drivers behind the third consecutive year of improved overall customer satisfaction with residential electric utility companies.

The electricity of today does not contain any more or less efficiency characteristics compared to the electricity of yesterday. The progressively increasing cost of electricity is more than a rise in a regional cost of living. It is a rise in the cost to produce electricity and prepare to join the Smart Grid. It is highly unlikely any electricity customer will continue to pay more for the same offering and not receive some type of additional benefit. The offering of additional information to the customer, relevant to their purchasing of electricity, is a cost effective choice for the electricity producer. Defining and delivering this information seems to be the public debate now, but without the interest to actually supply the information due to lack of technologies to know and explain electricity consumption. It is a circular debate.

Smart Grid – Producer
A cellular service company has adopted the mindset of smart-grid-as-a-service as a cloud-hosted platform meant to connect Smart Metering, Demand Response, Meter Data Management, and Distribution Monitoring and Control under as single provider. The privacy of customer data is a concern with this offering. The Wi-SUN Alliance announced collaboration with India and their effort to upgrade their national electrical grid within a decade. The Wi-SUN Alliance seeks to advance seamless connectivity by promoting IEEE 802.15.4g, otherwise known as ZigBee. GNU remotecontrol has voiced concern about ZigBee and maintains this position. Nest also uses ZigBee, as do most Smart Meters. However, having ZigBee on the device does not necessarily mean ZigBee is enabled. The problem is knowing if and when ZigBee was enabled on a device. This is the crux of the concern with ZigBee, followed by their poor security model. An article by Harvard Business Review brings the matter into focus. The world has much more heat being contributed by computing technologies. This invariably means heat will cause the need for cooling of the computers. The article offers what is called a framework for revenue resilience, providing protection against volatility in energy demand.

Regardless the ability to dissipate the heat, the cost to dissipate the increased amount of heat means an impact to organizational revenue streams. Cost of either a wired or wireless connection must be measured by the total cost of ownership, to determine the lifecycle costs. Participation in the Smart Grid can occur in many forms, both small and large. It is a wiser choice to not join the Smart Grid until the total cost of ownership is calculated, including a suitable end-to-end security plan.

ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • We are in development stage.
  • We are approximately 85% 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.

ANSI C

  • 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.

DISCUSSIONS

DEEP IN DEVELOPMENT
Our primary goal now is to deliver version 2.0 of GNU remotecontrol. All effort as of late is centered around this goal.

Please contact us, if you would like to participate in the completion of version 2.0.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
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

BUGS
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.

TASKS
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

BUSINESS BLACKOUT
A report into the insurance implications of a wide-scale cyber-attack on the US energy sector reveals just how costly the breach would be for government and insurers. A Stuxnet-style attack on US Smart Grid could cost $1 trillion USD to repair. The need to upgrade the national electrical grid is clear. The speed to accomplish this upgrade seems to be happening too slow, as an upgraded national electrical grid would not only be more resilient against attack but it would also most likely suffer a lesser impact of the attack. The FERC is considering how to address new cyber threats in updated reliability standards. However, they seem to be quite behind in providing any form of viable assistance either today or in the near future.

Selecting appropriate technology standards is a paramount decision for successfully joining the Smart Grid. Perhaps the most important characteristic of an appropriate technology standard is the security model for each standard implemented for any interface with the Smart Grid. It is a wiser choice to not join the Smart Grid until end-to-end security is established for any organization participating with the Smart Grid.

REMEMBER
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.

LASTLY

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.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – August 2014

THIS MONTH…..
TRENDS
EYE CATCHING
ANNUAL PLAN
DISCUSSIONS
EXISTING CODE
SECURITY
LASTLY

TRENDS
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.)

EYE CATCHING
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.

ANNUAL PLAN
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.

DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

WIRED OR WIRELESS
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

OR

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.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
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 CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

BUGS
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.

TASKS
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.

SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS
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.

REMEMBER
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.

LASTLY
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.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – June 2014

THIS MONTH…..
TRENDS
EYE CATCHING
ANNUAL PLAN
DISCUSSIONS
EXISTING CODE
SECURITY
LASTLY

TRENDS
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

EYE CATCHING
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.

ANNUAL PLAN
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.

DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

DYNAMIC DEMAND RESPONSE
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.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
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 CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

BUGS
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.

TASKS
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.

SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

UNTRUSTED NETWORKS
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.

REMEMBER
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.

LASTLY
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.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Newsletter – April 2013

THIS MONTH…..
-TRENDS
-DISCUSSIONS
-EXISTING CODE
-SECURITY
-LASTLY

-TRENDS
The stuff going on in the big picture now…..

  • PG&E has early results, showing their customers like to control their thermostats with their smart phones. These results come from researching how utilities are embracing smart thermostats to help manage energy grids.
  • Sprint is expected to reduce their retail energy costs by 15 percent, a $1.5 million annual savings, with an 18-month payback on the program.
  • There are, clearly, several thermostat options available for single user scenarios. What is not in place, at the Power Distribution Provider level, is a way for those thermostats to be managed, en mass.
  • The GNU remotecontrol development team is now working on our first large scale deployment. We hope our Thermostat API Emulator will demonstrate that the GNU remotecontrol can withstand the network and system demands of large scale deployments, and do it without the cost and restrictions of proprietary licensing.

OPEN GEOSPATIAL CONSORTIUM
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international industry consortium participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface standards. OGC Standards support interoperable solutions that enable the Web, wireless, location-based services, and mainstream IT. The standards empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful for all kinds of applications. OGC has a desire to get their project running with equipment inside buildings. An example of this usage is when indoor temperature and humidity sensors are moved, but that move was not widely communicated to the rest of the energy management team. Sensor location very much matters when reviewing captured data. GNU remotecontrol will observe this emerging standard from afar, to see if we need to support any communication standard they come up with.

SMART ENERGY PROFILE
The Consortium for Smart Energy Profile Interoperability has developed the Smart Energy Profile (SEP) 2. This is a forthcoming standard for applications that enable home energy management via wired and wireless devices that support Internet Protocol. The founding members HomePlug Alliance, Wi-Fi Alliance and ZigBee Alliance continue to clear a path to SEP 2 interoperability for consumer benefits in the smart grid market. GNU remotecontrol will observe this emerging standard from afar, to see if we need to support any communication standard they come up with.

-DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

SECURITY ENHANCED LINUX
We reviewed, in 2009, what it would take to get our application running under SELinux. We have a good understanding of what those requirements are, and have interest in completing this effort. We realize being able to operate in the Smart Grid requires that we demonstrate our security capabilities. We expect having this enhanced security configuration integrated with the core GNU remotecontrol implementation will aid adoption in the United States. SELinux is the best option we have found to demonstrate our security capabilities. The Nagios part of our framework already works under SELinux.

-EXISTING CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

BUG FIXES
We recently resolved 2 bugs. Please review and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

-SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

SCADA RESEARCH REPORT
Leyden reports on research from Trend Micro. The article shares how simple SCADA security oversights can disrupt entire systems. It is not worth suffering a compromise of your systems due to not implementing simple security measures. Talk to us if you would like further information on addressing HVAC security concerns.

-LASTLY
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.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

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