Elster is one of the largest companies making smart meters that wirelessly beam energy consumption data between utilities and their customers — making them an integral player in the development of the cleaner, more efficient Smart Grid. The Raleigh, N.C. company had a big news day today, announcing partnerships with Blue Line Innovations, maker of monitor displays showing homeowners how much energy they are using, and Augusta Systems, provider of technology that ties together devices like meters and the networks they use to transmit information.
The deal with Blue Line is probably the most interesting move. Together, the companies will launch the EnergyAxis System, a so-called “powercost” monitor that shows utility customers with Elster meters exactly how much power they are using and how much it is costing them in real time. The data provided by this monitor (beamed to it wirelessly by the meter) could save users between 6 percent and 18 percent on their electricity bills, Elster says. The goal of the partnership is to spur lasting behavioral change in the energy consumer base. This isn’t a new concept — startups like Tendril and big utilities like Duke Energy are also making plans to install clear, easy-to-read energy monitors in people’s homes.
Elster’s second deal, with Augusta Systems, should help facilitate the introduction of in-home energy dashboards. Officially, Augusta has joined Elster’s Advanced Grid Infrastructure Initiative — a collaboration between utilities, the meter company and third-party technology providers looking to make the connections between them. Now, utilities that have deployed Elster meters will also have access to Augusta’s software to make its networks run more smoothly and quickly. It will also give utilities more data on energy consumption from more appliances and devices in the home to work with. With so many devices and networks consolidated into one home environment, it will be increasingly critical for utilities to tap into software like Augusta’s to tie them together in common communication.
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