Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

National Grid rolls out energy control in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Steve Rogerson
June 14, 2016
 
UK utility National Grid has introduced its Connected Solutions platform in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The consumer energy platform leverages Earth Networks’ Weatherbug Home technology to let customers connect and manage smart devices and appliances for their home or business.
 
The platform is designed to help customers reduce energy use in the summer, when energy demand is high. It can help reduce energy use during periods of peak demand (reducing regional energy costs), protect the environment by lowering emissions, and support state and local energy initiatives.
 
“National Grid is committed to customer convenience and reducing energy costs,” said Carlos Nouel, National Grid’s leader of the new energy division. “By utilising Weatherbug Home, the Connected Solutions platform provides our customers with energy intelligence that does the work for you to maximise savings and comfort. We are excited to introduce this to Massachusetts and Rhode Island customers, and eventually, roll it out across our entire service area.”
 
National Grid is introducing the platform to eligible Massachusetts and Rhode Island electric customers and, in the coming months, expanding the platform to New York. Powered by Weatherbug Home’s IoT-centric approach to bring additional energy intelligence and value, the platform will initially work with Honeywell and Ecobee smart thermostats, and expand over time to additional connected devices including washers, dryers and hot water heaters.
 
It uses Weatherbug Home’s ability to integrate proprietary weather data (50 per cent of a home’s energy usage is driven by weather) with patented thermodynamic modelling and energy consumption data from connected devices.
 
“We are pleased to team up with National Grid to bring our big data capabilities and proven energy intelligence platform to homes and businesses across Massachusetts,” said Bob Marshall, chief executive officer at Earth Networks. “The value of our IoT-centric approach to energy management was affirmed by a recent National Grid residential pilot finding that Weatherbug Home’s HVAC control and optimisation capabilities saved 16.5 per cent in electricity usage when cooling homes, compared to 5.1 per cent HVAC savings from a connected thermostat. It is rewarding to see pioneering utilities such as National Grid seek new ways to deliver superior service and value to customers, and we are excited to work closely with National Grid on this platform.”
 
Key benefits for consumers include:

  • Online and mobile app: It is a customer platform to connect smart home appliances and devices. Access to devices is provided via a mobile app and an online customer portal.
  • Peak optimisation: During times of heavy air conditioning use or other times when there is constraint on the electrical grid, it will automatically optimise customer usage to maintain comfort, while helping National Grid alleviate peak load demand to keep regional energy costs low. Customers can opt out of this automated feature at any time.
  • Incentives and savings: Massachusetts and Rhode Island customers who sign up have the opportunity to earn incentives of up to $50 per device by participating and see additional bill savings of up to $35.
  • Intelligent weather optimisation for Wifi thermostats: It predicts exactly how much energy is needed to maintain desired temperatures and how long it will take to reach them. And it automatically adjusts customers’ Wifi thermostats.
 
National Grid operates systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain. It also connects over 20 million people to energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in north-east USA.