Louisville, KY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — October 31, 2008 – A program to introduce a suite of “smart” energy management enabled appliances has been launched by GE Consumer & Industrial.

The appliances, which will become available in the first quarter of 2009, will be enabled to receive a signal from their local utility and will react based on the internal programming. For example the automatic defrost feature on the “smart” refrigerator is initiated by the internal electronics based on the number of refrigerator door openings and other input signals, but the utility may choose to delay the defrost cycle from occurring during peak energy usage hours. No customer interaction is required.

A pilot program is being conducted in partnership with Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E), a regulated electric and natural gas utility serving over 384,000 electric customers in Louisville and 16 surrounding counties. For the pilot, energy management enabled appliances will be placed in a select number of participating pilot homes and will be enabled to receive and respond to the LG&E signal.

“We believe that peak load reduction is the next opportunity in energy saving appliances,” says Kevin Nolan, vice president technology for GE Consumer & Industrial. “We believe that smart, energy management enabled appliances will be the next phase of innovation.”

In addition to “smart” refrigerators, GE will energy management enable ranges, laundry pairs, dishwashers and microwave ovens. Consumers will be notified of a rate change or of critical peak pricing on a display on their appliances letting them know when higher rates are in effect. Appliances will be programmed to avoid energy usage during that time but consumers may choose to override the program, giving them ultimate control.