What to do with all that smart meter data

The question of what to do with all of the smart meter data is an increasing issue since it’s become clear that there’s no intrinsic energy savings to smart meters. The biggest benefit is to utilities which no longer have to hire meter readers to go door to door, as well as the ability to pinpoint outages with greater precisions and less manpower.

I’ve heard murmurings for the past couple years that the data generated by smart meters could be crunched to help consumers. Opower is out ahead here, with its basic mailed reports with recommendations for the utility customers about how to reduce their power use, based on analyzing past use. Smart meters make Opower’s data and recommendations more rich.

But I’d heard something else. That smart meter data alone could provide information about which appliances were on and off in a home, and even identify shifts in the energy consumption of those appliances that could diagnose potential problems. Well, enter Bidgely, a Khosla Ventures backed startup that says it can dig into smart meter data with algorithms to make repair and other recommendations specific to appliances or pool heaters or HVAC systems.

The obvious big advantage here is that no sensors or extra gateway hardware has to be installed. This could be completely software driven with future opportunities like cross marketing with appliance makers as well as integration into possible social media platforms. Imagine logging onto Facebook, seeing your energy patterns at home, compare them to those of your neighbors, see how your appliances are performing and see an advertisement from Whirlpool to top it off. I know, it’s a grand vision with lots of obstacles. But at least the algorithms appear to be here.

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Adam Lesser

Cleantech Curator Gigaom Research

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