Jump to content

IFTTT or OpenADR or both?


tim.mccollough

Recommended Posts

I run our local municipal electric utility. I'd like to take an informal poll.

 

We are implementing OpenADR this year and also considering the possibility of IFTTT

 

I've talked to the folks IFTTT about creating a channel for or local utility. For $10k/yr anyone can create an IFTTT channel. I've prototyped a few triggers our channel could do with Maker related to our demand response program. A few questions to you all:

 

1. If you were on a time-of-use rate and it could save you money, would you prefer to use Open-ADR or an IFTTT trigger to control loads in your home during peak pricing?

 

2. What would you do with an OpenADR signal or an IFTTT channel to save money? Or would you care at all?

 

3. Is there any other reason you would want your electric utility to have an IFTTT channel?

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I run our local municipal electric utility. I'd like to take an informal poll.

 

We are implementing OpenADR this year and also considering the possibility of IFTTT

 

I've talked to the folks IFTTT about creating a channel for or local utility. For $10k/yr anyone can create an IFTTT channel. I've prototyped a few triggers our channel could do with Maker related to our demand response program. A few questions to you all:

 

1. If you were on a time-of-use rate and it could save you money, would you prefer to use Open-ADR or an IFTTT trigger to control loads in your home during peak pricing?

 

2. What would you do with an OpenADR signal or an IFTTT channel to save money? Or would you care at all?

 

3. Is there any other reason you would want your electric utility to have an IFTTT channel?

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

First, I like to personally thank you for taking the time and effort in seeing value in some of the latest services the market has to offer. I believe when companies are forward thinking it does really make sense and offers more value to the consumer. Having said this these are my thoughts on the questions posed.

 

 

 

1. If you were on a time-of-use rate and it could save you money, would you prefer to use Open-ADR or an IFTTT trigger to control loads in your home during peak pricing?

 

I believe Open-ADR is a much better and reliable method for time sensitive monitoring and data reception. But, IFTTT offers the consumer ease of use while also giving them choices - keeping in mind there may be delays in its operations.

 

 

 

2. What would you do with an OpenADR signal or an IFTTT channel to save money? Or would you care at all?

 

Assuming the person had full Insteon / Z-Wave integration for high loads which could be managed. I would be using the data to load shed, delay, or reschedule appliances / hardware in the home to avoid those extreme ToU rates.

 

 

 

3. Is there any other reason you would want your electric utility to have an IFTTT channel?

 

Besides the obvious which is to allow the consumer a direct method to integrate with their home automation via the ISY Series Controller. Having this capability offers a choice not present before - never mind a possible solution to help manage energy consumption and costs.

 

=======================================================================

=======================================================================

 

I've been heavily involved in energy management in my home and business for years. So your informal poll means a lot to me because its safe to say there has never been a POCO that has ever come into the forums asking the very same. I think for a large company to push forward with such a huge investment they should offer the very same poll to the customers they serve locally.

 

Have a very simple survey created at survey monkey or similar and ask the relevant questions and see what the feed back is. I find often times people never read the pamphlet / insert. Thus this information should be listed on the companies website, mailers, and possible spot Ads?

 

Assuming the response is positive and there is support in the community I would push forward with the IFTTT channel support. I believe the key thing with any sort of 3rd party integration is flexibility. It goes with out saying if the IFTTT was tied to the ISY Series Controller the sky is the limit.

 

Would you be able to offer some insight as to what kind of recipes and interaction you envision for this channel? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IFTTT - No.  Absolutely, positively no.  Never.

 

The reason is simple.  As Teken notes above, it's probable that load management is going to focus on BIG loads.  In other words, it's NOT going to focus on my light bulbs -- it's going to be about controlling my A/C unit, my electric water heater, and other critical infrastructure.

 

And the use of IFTTT requires that I place a URL that, when compromised, would allow anyone from anywhere, to start "having fun" with my critical infrastructure.  Like attempting to cycle my A/C unit dozens of times per hour (thank goodness the big one has a short-cycle prevention circuit, but there's no such thing on the little unit).  Or turning off my water heater -- something I'd never notice until I needed hot water, like for my shower before I leave for work.

 

We've discussed this on other threads -- there's an entire contingent of users who's attitude on this is "I'm not worried, there's nothing for a hacker to gain by hacking my HA" (a statement with which I disagree).  But load management brings another side of this to the forefront - BIG loads combined with the monetary aspect of load management means the impact of a breach, when it occurs, of IFTTT may be not only inconvenient, but costly.

 

I'd suggest that if you do decide to move forward with IFTTT, you may want to bring in your PoCo's legal team to get the correct disclaimers in place for your subscribers.  It won't make them less upset when IFTTT gets breached, though - nobody reads the disclaimers anyway... so maybe that's not helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Tim

 

As mentioned by Teken, thanks for asking us!

 

A consideration is how advanced, on average, your population is? Would they understand the nature of these programs or the tradeoffs of joining? Would you provide incentives to join, like provide OpenADR or IFTTT ready devices like thermostats?

 

One of the most vexing things for me, as a user that could take advantage of a similar program,  is trying to figure out what it means to be part of the program. Yes, I do want to save money, but at the same time, I don't want to come home to a house that's 80 degrees regardless of the savings, and it can take a while for the house to cool down. I've experimented with automating it, and at the end of the day wasn't a clear "wow".

 

Calculating the balance of program participation is another hard one.. how apparently "punitive" is the peak rate?  For me, I already have the lights turned off when I'm not here, and have replaced key lights with LEDs, so maybe it wouldn't matter much? My primary candidate devices for consideration are a dehumidifier in the basement, and programs that cycle the fans on HVAC system... 730 peak watts for the dehumidifier, 100 watts each for the fans.

 

This is a long way of saying I would focus less on the controlling technology and more on how you package it and communicate the benefits, how the program works and what it means, like sample forecast before and after bills.

 

To answer about the technologies- OpenADR has an appeal because its more of a one time configuration. My thermostats offer the ability to directly configure an OpenADR service with parameters and limits. If more devices follow suit, there is the possibility of you providing a web page indicating models and brands, and how to go through the setup process. IFTTT is becoming more pervasive, is more flexible and could do even simple things like let you know that its an ADR event on your favorite media. But IFTTT is more than a simple configuration, you have to learn about how to use it. If you figure out how to provide the service, my guess is you'll appeal to more by offering both.

 

A final thought: UDI has been given a grant for a new program, RATES, I would suggest contacting UDI about that if you are in California since you are at the beginning.

http://forum.universal-devices.com/topic/19079-udi-is-awarded-a-32m-grant-from-cec/?hl=grant

 

Good luck, do keep us in the loop as you go forward

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To add to what Paul indicated I truly believe ToU rates should be fair and reward those who have decided to participate. I am no fan of things being forced down the throat of the consumer unless its something that will benefit everyone and not just a select few. 

 

Another thing that is gaining traction and world wide acceptance is smart battery systems from companies like Tesla. At the moment its safe to say the market is still in its infancy and still needs to mature along with being more reasonable in terms of pricing vs actual need.

 

Having said this POCO's need to start to think from the ground up of using these smart batteries as part of the grids infrastructure. Where during peak times when someone is not using their stored power that it be used on the grid itself. The grid would in turn pay the consumer for helping out and balancing the load in their area etc.

 

There are several POCO's in the United States which have started pilot projects which are subsidizing the Tesla smart battery or similar already.

 

I know lots of people have mixed feelings about solar or those who are grid tied and supply power back into the grid in hopes of off setting their overall energy bill and consumption. But I truly believe POCO's should continue to reward those who are actually trying to do their part in saving energy and also helping out the grid when ever possible and not be penalized as it has been seen in AZ and many other States.

 

Ultimately I would like to see a smart grid infrastructure in every home which in the big picture would help not only the consumer during power outages. But also help the community when and where they can when the *Grid* needs that extra buffer in place. Employing a multi distributed battery storage system in residential homes can help reduce costs for the POCO.

 

Lastly, it goes with out saying privacy and security must be cornerstone of any service provided and not simply an afterthought. The company should have clear and concise TOS (Terms of Service) and how private data is gathered, used, and desiminated. The consumer should be able to request the very same information / have a privacy officer at the ready to answer and provide that data with out hesitation.  

 

Obviously, this data should not be sold, relayed, or shared with any entity with out the express consent of the end user. Even when the consumer consents to the above any and all changes during the course of the service will trigger another consent decree needing to be asked and ack'd. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would you be able to offer some insight as to what kind of recipes and interaction you envision for this channel?

The triggers that we are currently exploring are:

 

load_control_notice

 

This will be a notification that will be sent out the day of a DR event with the start time and duration included as variables. This will notify our customers of the upcoming event and allow them to pre-cool their homes to mitigate the 80+ degree house during the evening. I have this working in my home currently.

 

load_control_on

 

This is the trigger to start our load control event. So far I have my thermostat and wifi oven included in our DR program via IFTTT. Not that anyone would ever shut-off their oven, but the possibility gets my staff to think outside the box for controllable loads. Window AC and other plug loads are usually out of reach for utilities to included in afar programs. IFTTT (and home automation) open the possibilities up for us.

 

load_control_off

 

This will trigger the end of our event. Allows our customers to bring everything back to normal.

 

----------

 

There are many possibilities with IFTTT and I'm very interested in the possibilities of 2-way communication where or customers can pass us data.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Tim,

 

I am obviously biased since not only I am one of the original spec editors for OpenADR 2.0a/b but also all ISYs are OpenADR 2.0a/b certified VENs with seamless integration with all the devices that ISY supports.

 

The whole purpose behind OpenADR was to automate what you have outlined above. Of course, having an OpenADR IFTTT channel makes sense for mass adoption but with the drawback of dependence on third party services (which most utilities in CA do not like).

 

With kind regards,

Michel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not a decision of either one or the other for us. OpenADR is a given, but it will only tap in to a limited segment of our population. Primarily our commercial and industrial customer base and a few home automation gurus. Most of the general public is not as adept at home automation and geeking out with all of us on this forum.

 

I am considering the IFTTT route as a supplement to our existing demand response program. It costs a lot of money to integrate with all the big thermostat companies (I.e. - Nest) and you pay per event as a utility. I suspect we have many customers who would participate in our program for altruistic reasons, but they don't want our thermostat, or have already invested in a wifi thermostat and just need a way to receive a signal from us.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


  • Recently Browsing

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Who's Online (See full list)

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      36.6k
    • Total Posts
      368.1k
×
×
  • Create New...