California Firm Develops Software to Curb Energy Costs

An internet software company has developed an energy management system that can reduce power costs.

SAUSALITO, California – The Coactive Energy Bundle was introduced by Coactive Networks, a provider of residential gateways for connecting the Internet to devices in homes and businesses. The Bundle provides a complete Internet-based suite of energy management services that company officials say will usher in the next critical phase of smart home functionality with a timely solution to rising power costs and energy resource inefficiencies. “Power outages cost U.S. businesses a whopping $29 billion annually, while a mere 10 percent reduction in electricity consumption on peak would eliminate price spikes and help curb brownouts and blackouts,” says president and CEO David Gaw. “The Coactive Connector residential gateway leverages the Internet to provide an unprecedented level of flexibility and intelligence, leading to smarter energy use and reducing monthly electricity bills by as much as 20 percent – an amazing savings in both dollars and electrons over the course of a year.” The Bundle addresses the core problems of uncontrolled and unpredictable energy consumption patterns, explains Gaw. The residential gateway tracks real-time energy usage data and enables energy providers and consumers to pinpoint potential problems, make decisions, and avoid costly bills and disruptive outages. The company claims it is the first and only company of its kind to take an active role in defining, developing and implementing a complete residential gateway package that addresses specific consumer needs. The introduction of the Bundle “is timed to alleviate energy woes born of a complex crisis that has seen temperature fluctuations trigger power shortages and drastic price variations for both residential and commercial customers.” The Bundle connects four critical devices to the Internet: the energy meter, thermostat, light switches, and major electrical appliances. Each device communicates over the existing home electrical wiring to the Coactive Connector residential gateway, which then extends the communication to the Internet by sharing a phone line or using a cable hookup. Once installed, it acts as the master of the newly smart home or business, establishing communications, configuring services, and keeping up to date with software and service upgrades. The utility service provider has direct Internet access to key energy-using devices, while the consumer can receive alerts and remotely manage tasks from any Web browser or WAP-enabled wireless phone. Remote access to appliances and lights regulates energy use, and enhances consumer convenience and safety, say company officials. Consumers can turn on lights as they come home, check to see if the coffee pot was left on, or receive an alert when pipes in the vacation home are in danger of freezing. Increased consumer control over energy demand will reduce peak usage and lower prices, they add. The California Independent System Operation estimates that a 10 percent reduction in electricity consumption statewide on peak would eliminate price spikes.

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