Thursday, September 8, 2011

DTE announces iPhone app for outage information

DTE Energy Co. customers who are in the dark may brighten their days by getting updates on their power outages — if they have enough juice left on their iPhones.

Customers with smartphones now can report a power outage, view outage maps and get a restoration estimate through DTE's new free mobile app.

The news about DTE's app — available since mid-July but announced Tuesday on a company tweet — comes three days after more than 120,000 Detroit Edison customers lost power during Saturday's severe storms. About 7,000 homes still were without power Tuesday evening, the utility said.

The app, which also lets users report downed power lines or gas leaks, has been downloaded 2,000 times and is available through Apple's App Store, said Scott Simons, a DTE spokesman. A version of the app for Droid phones should be available soon, he added.

Besides utilities, all kinds of companies are adding apps to cater to the growing number of smartphone users. The Nielsen Co. predicts that by the end of this year, more than half of U.S. cellphones will be smartphones.

Detroit-based DTE also is planning to launch an app so customers can view their account balances and pay their bills from their smartphones, Simons said.

From The Detroit News:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blue Line, PlotWatt target Google, Microsoft home energy monitoring customers

Created Aug 30 2011 - 8:40am
Blue Line Innovations and PlotWatt are are partnering to target former Microsoft Hohm and Google PowerMeter customers. Blue Line Innovations, maker of the PowerCost Monitor, and PlotWatt, maker of the PlotWatt Energy Dashboard will seamlessly combining Blue Line's hardware with PlotWatt's cloud-based software, enabling homeowners to see both their real-time whole-home energy use and appliance level spending through live data feeds every 32 seconds.

"Now the consumer has tremendous visibility into how and where they are using electricity in the home. Not just how much or when, but specifically how much each appliance is using," Peter Porteous, CEO Blue Line Innovations Inc., told FierceEnergy. "The game changing aspect is this is being accomplished without any additional hardware or the complexity of connecting a sensor to each appliance. For PowerCost Monitor users this is a free application. For utilities supporting a consumer program we will also provide the utility with a free roll up of their customer base."

Utilities will understand in real time not only how much their customer base is consuming but on which appliances.

"The insight will be tremendous and it really opens the door for tremendous consumer education outreach and cloud driven demand response programs," Porteous said. "The CEO of one utility, when shown a sneak peek of the Blue Line PlotWatt solution, said, "we will know more about our customer in one week than we have been able to learn in 80 years."

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