GE Launching Smart Appliance Pilot Program

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Looks like AT&T;'s new suite of smart grid services will see a new suite of smart appliances to go along with it. We mentioned a few months ago that GE is introducing new appliances that are Energy Management Enabled. In other words, they cut out the need for the homeowner to act on information from the utilities. Well, they're here!The appliances will be capable of receiving a signal from utility companies that the price of power is going up, and adjust their functions to reduce power consumption until the price goes back down.

While it's not a technology that can be utilized today, it's something that will very likely be the norm in the near future, and GE is already getting a jump on it. The company is already looking for utilities to come on board and try out working with the appliances. A pilot program is underway in Louisville, KY, so we'll soon see how well the first generation of EMA Energy Star appliances work with smart grid signals.

Essentially what will happen is as utilities switch from fixed rates to variable rates, they'll send out signals to your smart meter to let it know when the price is shifting. The appliances will also get the signals and react. So for instance, if you're going to start up your dishwasher during a time when prices are high, it might give you a warning that you want to wait to begin the load. The customer won't have to do anything to make the appliances adjust settings, but they will be able to override it if they'd like.

The new suite of appliances is being introduced during this first quarter of 2009. We're really interested to see how the pilot program goes, and if other utilities will begin connecting with the appliances soon. You can catch a video of how it'll work at GE's website.

Via Press Release
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