10 Home Energy Management Trends for 2013
2013 is poised to be a breakthrough year for residential demand response (DR) and home energy management (HEM). Here are my predictions for what we might expect.
- Base electricity prices will stay relatively low owing to natural gas prices remaining low, but gasoline prices will continue to be volatile throughout the year. The combination is likely to support ongoing interest in and sales of electric vehicles.
- The U.S. economy will grow through 2013, and demand for electricity will grow with it. If the summer witnesses higher than normal temperatures, DR will become critically important. Maybe even a repeat of California’s extreme price volatility and record high electric spot market prices will occur despite the low cost of natural gas.
- DR will improve its value proposition in the wholesale electric markets and will, therefore, compete more effectively with generation, and attract more interest from the investment community.
- Residential DR with intelligent HEM systems will finally be recognized as an environmentally-friendly and effective way to put flexibility back into the power system by complimenting the increasing penetration of variable renewable resources and supporting distribution automation systems.
- Mobile applications will continue to dominate computing trends and utilities will embrace mobile platforms as being integral to their customer relationship and residential DR programs.
- Consumers will expect HEM mobile apps to provide remote control and management of their smart thermostats and other appliances. Some apps might support voice (“Siri, is it warm in here or is it just me?”) or locational services that will anticipate a consumer’s return home.
- Attempts to integrate gaming and/or social media into Web-based energy efficiency and HEM initiatives will encounter consumer resistance owing to concerns over privacy and how data is, or may be used to help advertisers target their messages.
- Analytics on HEM and equipment performance data will gain considerable traction, and will lead to new high-value services that provide personalized suggestions for conserving energy and saving money.
- Utilities will continue to struggle with how best to use the data they already have, and will therefore remain hesitant to integrate other datasets (or fuse data) to develop the “Meta Data” that might be useful to customers.
- Pre-pay for electric service (and perhaps pre-purchase of kWh) will gain in popularity, and that is likely to prompt utilities and aggregators to consider innovative business models.
About the Author
Louis Szablya is VP of marketing and product management at Energate, Inc., where he is responsible for marketing, product management, and partner programs. Prior to joining Energate, Szablya was Director of Smart Grid Integration at SAIC, a Smart Grid and Utility Consultant, and VP of Sales and Delivery at GridPoint.