LG&E Teams with GE To Reshape Energy Usage, Save Consumers Money
Louisville, Ky. — GE Consumer & Industrial will collaborate with Louisville Gas and Electric Company to help consumers manage their utility bills by enabling them to avoid peak hour energy usage. The program provides the next step in home energy 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 the first Quarter of 2009, GE will introduce a suite of "smart" appliances Energy Management Enabled Appliances. These GE 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 internal programming. It requires no consumer interaction.
In the Louisville-area pilot, only a group of GE employees, who currently participate in the LG&E Responsive Pricing Pilot Program (RPP), will be selected to host a GE smart-enabled appliance in their homes. Initially, GE estimates working with a group of 15-20 GE employees.
Currently 150 LG&E customers participate in the LG&E RRP pilot program. In these homes smart meters monitor HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, air conditioning). These "smart" or Energy Management Enabled Appliances will be enabled to receive the LG&E signal and automatically respond to four modes of rates.
For example, the automatic defrost feature on GE refrigerators is initiated by the internal electronics based on the number of refrigerator door openings and other input signals. If the refrigerator can delay the defrost cycle from occurring during peak energy usage hours, consumers will save money by paying for the same amount of energy later in the day when the rates are lower.
Currently LG&E rates are the same throughout the day. Like many other utility companies across the country, a tiered pricing structure is being considered so that consumers are encouraged to save money by avoiding using energy during critical peak hours (typically between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.) and save money.
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 by the 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.
LG&E is a wholly-owned subsidiary of E.ON U.S. LLC that serves 326,000 natural gas and 401,000 electric customers in Louisville, Ky., and 16 surrounding counties.
GE Consumer & Industrial spans the globe as an industry leader in major appliance, lighting and integrated industrial equipment, systems and services. Providing solutions for commercial, industrial and residential use in more than 100 countries, GE Consumer & Industrial uses innovative technologies and "ecomagination," a GE initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that help customers and consumers meet pressing environmental challenges, to deliver comfort, convenience and electrical protection and control. General Electric (NYSE: GE) brings imagination to work, selling products under the Monogram®, Profile™, GE®, Hotpoint®, SmartWater™, Reveal®, and GE Edison™ consumer brands, and Entellisys™ industrial brand. For more information, consumers may visit www.ge.com.