Partnership agreement aids energy conservation initiatives


Niraj Bhargava,
Vancouver, BC, Canada — (METERING.COM) — June 20, 2008 – Tantalus and Energate have announced a partnership agreement to further develop a programmable communicating thermostat that provides utilities with a fast, affordable and highly effective way of interacting with customers on energy conservation initiatives.

The programmable communicating thermostat combines Energate’s smart thermostat technology with a versatile user interface, real-time communications and customer signaling to deliver coordinated action to individual homes or groups of homes via TUNet®, the Tantalus Utility Network. The result is a powerful demand response solution suite that can be deployed on its own or in conjunction with a conventional TUNet AMI system. A utility can choose between ZigBee or the TUNet 900 MHz LAN for communications with appliances or other load management devices. It is an end-to-end TUNet demand response solution for smart grid initiatives that include load shedding, load cycling and customer signaling, which is an efficient way to alert consumers when different price levels are in effect and when clean or green energy is on the grid.

“Our mutual goal is to make it easy for utilities and consumers to participate in energy and cost saving, and realize the other benefits of conservation initiatives,” said Dom Geraghty, CEO of Tantalus. “The Energate team and their technology is second-to-none in the home energy management industry, and balances the needs of the utility and the consumer. The programmable communicating thermostat is designed for versatility. It’s a highly configurable and customizable solution that enables a utility to implement desired rate structures, load control programs, user messaging and over-ride permissions to whatever degree makes the most sense. It makes it possible for utilities to create programs that truly engage consumers and provides a strong feedback mechanism so that each participant can maximize energy management, in terms of both comfort and results.”

“We see this as much more than a smart thermostat,” said Niraj Bhargava, CEO of Energate. “It’s an essential in-home appliance, an energy gateway that provides a full range of utility load control programs while supporting the needs and wants of consumers. Combining Tantalus’ leading edge communications technology with our home energy management solution provides consumers and utilities with a way to cooperate as never before, and have a positive effect on energy usage.”

The device features an intuitive console and large LCD panel. With the push of a button, a consumer can opt in or out of a shedding event or cycle down pre-selected appliances such as an air conditioner. Over-the-air programming and firmware upgrade capability allows a utility to easily alter operating parameters via a web application. This includes adjusting price alert levels, adding functionality, moving a customer to a new DR plan, or offering innovative new programs that reflect changing market conditions, individual cost and comfort preferences, and the evolution of demand response.

“This is a significant element in our broader energy efficiency initiative, which is being funded by the federal government as part of SDTC (Sustainable Technology Development Canada),” added Geraghty. “We’re excited about this opportunity to provide utilities with a comprehensive solution that allows them to closely monitor consumption of electricity, water and gas, pinpoint inefficient energy use and implement programs to help consumers save money and reduce their carbon footprint.”