Podcast: Power to the people — and all their connected devices

The internet of things isn’t just about the connected home, smart cities or even gathering data on the high seas. The economics are moving to a point where utilities are seriously eying the trend of home energy management as something that might affect their bottom line, especially if the adoption of electric vehicles takes off.

Russell Shaver of Austin Energy.

Russell Shaver of Austin Energy.

In this week’s podcast I speak with Russell Shaver, a consulting engineer with Austin Energy, about it’s interest in the internet of things, and the changing economics driving the utility to care more about demand response. For example this week in Austin, the price of power on the spot market rose from the average $30 or $40 per watt to a whopping $900 per watt in Texas thanks to the temperature and the loss of some generation capacity. As a consumer I’m insulated against those price fluctuations, but Austin Energy has to pay. And those prices are only going to rise.

That makes connectivity and intelligence in the home around energy consumption worth spending money on. Hence Austin Energy’s new incentive plan that gives residents $85 if they purchase one of three connected thermostats. Listen for the details of that program as what Shaver sees as the future for connected devices and the role utilities will play.

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Show notes:
Host: Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Russell Shaver of Austin Energy

  • A bit about how Austin Energy uses demand response today.
  • The OpenADR protocol and the need for open standards and data sharing even for energy data.
  • Why electric vehicles change the game for utilities and what Austin Energy wants to see from connected cars
  • The power of the opt-out. Especially when it’s 110 degrees and you’re hosting a party.


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