The point of such a device is that it provides homeowners with secure information about their electricity use and costs with the hope that such a visualization will help motivate them to curtail excessive energy usage.
Beyond that, smart meters allow utilities to charge "time-of-use" rates for electricity throughout the day -- that is, charging more for peak consumption and less for off-peak consumption. The reason? Utilities, by law, must carry enough capacity for peak usage. Flattening that usage line helps them avoid such drastic spikes.
According to one study, U.S. utilities are expected to install more than 40 million smart meters by 2012.
The device is the first in GE's new Brillion line of smart home energy management products. On deck: a programmable thermostat, in-home display, a smartphone application, and smart GE Profile appliances for the home.
With that connectivity, virtually anything's possible. GE says it's looking at offering alerts for customers' daily tasks, such as when to change the refrigerator’s water filter or when the dryer cycle ends.
Nucleus will be available in early 2011 for $149 to $199 retail.
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