GE plans to launch a new line of “smart” appliances that interface with wireless, energy conservation electric meters to help consumers save electricity. The electric meters send signals to the appliances that direct the appliances to alter operations to use less electricity during peak times. The appliance user can override the commands so the appliances can operate at full power during peak times.
GE also announced a partnership with Louisville Gas & Electric Co., which has conducted a test of its smart meters since July 2007 through the Responsive Pricing Pilot Program.
The 150 LG&E customers enrolled in the utility’s Responsive Pricing Pilot Program purchase electricity on a four-tier rate structure, in which they pay higher prices for electricity during peak hours.
Those customers operate smart thermostats and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems with the smart technology. This will be the first test of appliances on the wireless system, said John P. Malloy, senior vice president of Energy Delivery Retail for E.On U.S.
Between 15 and 20 GE Consumer and Industrial employees, who are residential customers of LG&E, will participate in a test of the appliances, including washers, dryers, refrigerators, microwaves, ranges, and dishwashers, said Kevin Nolan, vice president of Technology for GE Consumer and Industrial.
The test is expected to last the remainder of 2008. If successful, GE will begin launching a full line of energy-management-enabled appliances across the United States sometime in the first quarter of 2009, Nolan said.
The appliances would be sold at first under the GE Profile line, but GE officials will explore the possibility of adding the wireless communication capability to other GE brands, Nolan said.
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