Demo: A revolution in home utilities, NeighborOil promises lower prices through group buying power

Oil means more than just gasoline. For many folks, it’s also how they heat their homes.
NeighborOil is a startup that’s reexamining how communities buy oil for heating and helping consumers negotiate for better prices and better service. And starting today, it’s bringing its revolutionary model to a wide range of residential utilities, including electricity and natural gas.

How secure is the smart grid?

What if a burglar could browse data which reveals which houses in an area are empty, or a cyberattack could create an electricity blackout? What if you unwittingly paid for your neighbour’s electricity, or a hacker could hijack control of your washing machine?

On the GreenBeat: GridPoint nearing IPO, smart meters win in PG&E and Oncor disputes

Smart grid company GridPoint is nearing a public stock offering, possibly beating Silver Spring  to the IPO punch, speculates the Washington Business Journal. The article notes that GridPoint has raised $220 million from venture capital and needs to show a payoff soon for its investors. The company has also done well in the marketplace, winning a $28.7 million contract with the Postal Service, making several acquisitions and hiring executives who have IPO experience.

Energy Dept. launches blog, social media strategy

Today marked the inaugural post from U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on the Department of Energy’s new Energy Blog, which it has launched in an obvious effort to better engage with the American public. It’s timely in the wake of the BP oil spill and upcoming mid-term elections in November that could change the course of the department’s funding programs.