There isn’t a ton of political meat on this story, but I’m sharing it here because it’s related to the push for a smart grid.
On a call with reporters to discuss DEFG’s report, Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States, Robert Powelson, chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, said that Comcast was teaming up with a retail electric supplier in the state. The electricity offering could be rolled out in the fourth quarter of this year. A representative from Comcast would not provide details, but did confirm “this is something we’re exploring.”
“Now it will be a quadruple play,” said Powelson, talking about cable, internet, phone and electricity all bundled together. In Australia, one utility and telecom have partnered to offer up to seven bundled services.
Comcast already has an energy play as part of its Xfinity home product, which offers home controls for lighting, security and thermostats. It leverages EcoFactor’s cloud service to fine-tune the thermostat for savings of up to 20 percent on heating and cooling.
Some utilities are still back in the 20th century and aren’t deploying smart meters fast enough, so some competition from Comcast will hopefully rouse them out of complacency. This is the low-hanging fruit of home energy savings and efficiency, once we get the smart grid infrastructure built out – no easy task, but still quite achievable. Once you have a plan with Comcast for Internet and electricity, then you can do cool stuff like schedule your dishwasher or clothes dryer to run at 2 am when fewer people are drawing electricity from the grid.
People rightly don’t like that Comcast is has a monopoly on Internet service provision, but it’s good they’re bringing more competition into the utility market. Now we need to get some more utilities into the Internet service provider market.
(via Green Tech Media)