You Heard It Here First, but Others Are Catching On: Social Media and Electricity Information

Lynne Kiesling

Remember back in October 2008 when I wrote about Andy Stanford-Clark and his tweeting house? And in July 2009 when I wrote about the German company Yellow Strom and its applications to enable its customers to use Twitter and Google’s Power Meter to increase their electricity information and manage their consumption?

Now, via my friends at Smart Grid News, the University of Mississippi is also using social media to create and promulgate electricity information and change user behavior:

The University of Mississippi is working with SmartSynch, Inc., on a smart metering project that will report the energy usage of campus buildings in real time via RSS and social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter. The Smart Grid infrastructure company will work with the university to set up a control panel or “dashboard” enabling school personnel to monitor, analyze, and report energy consumption.

And yet again I’m gonna beat on the transactive drum — the story discusses the “monitoring, analyzing, and reporting” capabilities of the technologies, but fails to highlight the truly transformative capability, which is that systems incorporating such applications are also capable of being transactive, of being price-responsive and able to respond autonomously to price signals.

Using Twitter and other social media to communicate information, including electricity prices, is not as “out there” as you think: it’s happening right now, and you can do it if you are an Ameren customer in Illinois and have chosen a contract under their Power Smart Pricing service option. From the Power Smart Pricing blog:

Follow Power Smart Pricing on twitter and set the service to text your phone. Each evening at 6pm you will receive a text message that tells you the low and high price for electricity for the following day. It might be advanced technology, but it’s a simple way to lower your bills and help lower peak demand.

Love it.

One thought on “You Heard It Here First, but Others Are Catching On: Social Media and Electricity Information

  1. I didn’t quit understand the initiatives of the SmartSynch project.

    – why the school personnel have to monitor and analyze energy report consumption? What kind of influence and power do they have on the users?

    – what kind of information will be presented in Facebook and Twitter? Is it to make the usage information of the guys available to anyone? Does it mean that they would need to put all users in Facebook first?

    – what is the point of using social media in this case?

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