Revisiting the 10 Home Energy Management Trends for 2013

Revisiting the 10 Home Energy Management Trends for 2013

This is probably a really bad idea, but I am taking the risk to revisit how I did in predicting home energy trends in December 2012 in Smart Grid News.

I said that 2013 was poised to be a breakthrough year for residential demand response (RDR).  Was it?  Well I have to leave that up to you to assess, but a number of items were positive.  We saw increased interest by consumers in smart home technologies that increased awareness of in home monitoring, including energy.  What’s more, OG&E’s program was identified as the largest smart grid program in the world, and RDR is a key element of that program.

So I’ll give myself a passing grade on that one. Below are the 10 predictions, in the same order as last year with my assessment of how I did:

  • Bold means I nailed it
  • Italics means I missed it
  • Plain text means it is too close to call

1.     Base electricity prices stayed relatively low and overall volatility was low.  The interest and sales of electric vehicles have grown.

2.     The U.S. economy grew and demand for electricity also grew.  There were no serious weather anomalies so while DR was used, there was no high volatility in electric prices.

3.     DR’s value proposition improved during 2013 as more utilities viewed it as an effective way to manage not just peak loads, but also a way to help integrate variable renewable resources.  The investment community has not yet clamored to find investment opportunities in RDR.  (I am still confident this will occur but maybe not as fast as I had hoped).

4.     RDR is being recognized as an environmentally-friendly and effective way to put flexibility back into the power system.

5.     Mobile applications are dominating computing trends. Utilities are trying to embrace mobile platforms where they can. However, interactive RDR over existing AMI infrastructures is not yet consumer “mobile worthy.”

6.     While consumers expect home energy management (HEM) mobile apps to provide remote control and management of their smart thermostats and other appliances, only the thermostats seem to be readily available.  While some apps are supporting voice and location services, they have not yet become mainstream in home energy management.

7.     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.

8.     Analytics on HEM and equipment performance data did not gain the traction I expected.  Maybe that is because utilities that have deployed AMI are completely consumed with integrating the benefits into their regular operations.  Consumer level analytics will come, but it may be a while for utilities to develop these capabilities.  Maybe a third party will step up and provide this.

9.     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.

10.  While there is still growth in pre-payment of electric service, it has not gained the level of popularity that I expected.  If I were an economist, I would have given myself a pass on this one since it is growing in popularity, albeit slowly.

So how did I do?  Counting all 14 statements or predictions, I nailed 7, missed 6 and 2 were neutral. Not terrible.

Louis Szablya is EVP of Sales & Marketing at Energate, Inc., where he is responsible for sales, marketing, and alliances.  Prior to joining Energate, Szablya was Director of Smart Grid Integration at SAIC, a smart grid and Utility consultant.

By Louis Szablya


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