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GE Announces Program to Reshape Energy Usage
Oct 30, 2008
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GE Consumer & Industrial is introducing a program that will provide the next step in home energy cost savings for consumers while helping utility companies better manage the demand for energy during peak energy usage times.

"Now that ENERGY STAR® appliances are recognized by 75% of American consumers, the next step is to reshape when energy is being used,” said Kevin Nolan, vice president Technology for GE Consumer & Industrial. "Peak hour energy demand is growing faster than total energy demand. It is imperative that we begin to shift some of the energy load from peak hours to other parts of the day -- helping to avoid the need to build new power plants to meet the demand," he explained.

In 1Q 2009, GE will introduce a suite of "smart" appliances or Energy Management Enabled Appliances. The appliances will be enabled to receive a signal from their local utility. The appliances will receive the control message and react based on the appliance’s internal programming. It requires no customer interaction.

Within 10 years, GE said energy management enabled appliances could easily occupy the market space held by Energy Star products today.

GE says “smart” or Energy Management Enabled Appliances and the utility “Smart Meters” help consumers manage their utility bills by enabling them to avoid peak hour energy usage and benefit from pricing. For the pilot, Energy Management Enabled will be placed in a select number of participating pilot homes and will be enabled to receive the LG&E signal. The appliances will automatically respond to the signal transmitted from the LG&E.

In addition to “smart” refrigerators, GE will enable ranges, laundry pairs, dishwashers, and microwave ovens to receive and respond to communications from the utility company. 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.

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