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“Smart energy” hot issue at 2015 Connected+

September 30, 2015 - Over 250 people came out for the second edition of Connected+ (formerly Home Connect) to hear the latest on home automation, smart energy and take a glimpse into the future.


September 30, 2015
By Renée Francoeur
Keir Brownstone with the City of Toronto talks about smart windows and solar cladding when it comes to condos

The two-day conference and exhibition at the MaRs Centre in Toronto featured over 30 speakers who touched on topics like smart energy market trends, smart windows and solar cladding as part of smart condos, the Internet of Things (IoT) and interoperability challenges, big data analytics, and home automation apps—just to name a few.

“The smart home is our technology knowing what we need before we do,” said Len Diplock, vice-president of corporate development with Direct Energy. He went on to explain how Direct Energy is changing the way utility bills work, breaking it down for users.

For example, you can see how much money and how many kilowatts your dishwasher or dryer uses on an hourly, daily and monthly basis and make adjustments based on that.

Direct Energy said it also found users want more of their utility information and tools on a mobile platform.

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Meanwhile, Przemek Tomczak, the former director of smart metering at the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), told Connected+ audiences that utility pricing structures must evolve for the sake of smart energy and incentives down the road.

“Acquiring real-time insights and acting on them will drastically improve customer experience, engagement, value and overall operations”, Tomczak said. “If I have a water leak and it’s costing me money and energy, I want to know as soon as possible, not a few days later or when I get my utility bill.”

Ontario-based utility PowerStream also presented its Advantage Power Pricing pilot, a new pricing plan rolled out this summer that offers a price of 4.9c/kWh—lower than the lowest time-of-use price, according to the utility—for off-peak periods and a variable price during the peak period (weekdays 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.). The peak price will vary with the demand for energy in Ontario so that participants pay either the High, Medium or Low rate for electricity during the peak period that day. Participants receive notification the day before of which price will be paid for on peak consumption the following day, PowerStream stated.

“Customers are actively responding to the prices,” said Daniel Carr, manager of smart grid projects with PowerStream.

The pilot is now being extended for another year, and will target those with electric heat over the winter, Carr added.

Exhibitors at the show included Nanoleaf, TrustPoint, Ubiquilux, Algocian, Invixium, Freescale, Somfy, Mircom, Radialpoint, Litmus Automation, Fidure Corp., and more.

Energy Manager and sister publications EBMag and SP&T News are partners with Connected+.

See yourself in here? Want a copy? Email rfrancoeur@annexweb.com. (Photos R. Francoeur.)