National Grid invests in real-time energy management start-up

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National Grid is to pilot real-time energy management start-up Copper Labs’ technology to engage New York gas customers.

The Boulder-based Copper Labs’ latest funding round which was led by National Grid Partners, the utility’s venture capital arm, was over-subscribed. Other investors include Blue Bear Capital, Moonshots Capital and Bull Creek Capital, each of whom participated in earlier funding rounds.

Copper Labs’ technology is designed to enable utilities to engage consumers with real-time meter data and better manage energy demand. With this funding, the company will expand its marketing, sales and product development efforts.

Additionally, National Grid is deploying Copper Labs’ technology in a pilot programme to engage and inform gas customers as part of the utility’s demand management programmes within New York.

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The state is currently the sixth largest natural gas consumer in the United States.

“With Copper Labs’ technology, we can access gas usage data from meters every 30 seconds, rather than every 30 days,” says Tara Kapila, vice president of customer product growth at National Grid.

“We are using this capability to test new programmes that encourage customers to adjust their energy consumption in real time.”

With this investment, the breakdown of which has not been specified, Dillon McDonald, vice president of incubation at National Grid Partners, joins the Copper Labs board of directors.

Copper Labs was founded in 2016. Its technology uses machine learning to interpret electric, gas or water meter data and to create personalised recommendations for customers..

Among recent developments Copper Labs has developed a new app with features including improved real-time consumption visualisations, personalised energy saving insights and anomaly detection, as well as gamifications and utility initiated demand response notifications.