Sunday, June 15, 2008

Smart Grid RoundUp: Trilliant, MapFrame, Higher Electricity Bills

Smart Grid RoundUp: Trilliant, MapFrame, Higher Electricity Bills

The power grid — our crucial yet oh-so-antiquated electricity system — is seeing several announcements today, as startups and big companies alike see room for innovation and investment. And, by the way, who’s going to pay for all this? Maybe you are:

Trilliant On Its Way to A Million Smart Grid Devices: Trilliant, a company which sells smart-grid gear and software, says it has now delivered more than 750,000 of those connected devices (such as advanced meters for homes). That’s a lot considering the slow pace that utilities in the United States have been implementing real-time pricing and smart grid-connected meters. The company was founded in 1985 and has managed to sign up a list of utility customers like Duke Energy, E.ON US (Louisville Gas & Electric), Hydro One, and San Diego Gas & Electric.

GE Buys Up MapFrame: GE says it’s buying mobile mapping and field automation company MapFrame to integrate the company into its smart-grid portfolio. Based in Dallas, Texas, and founded in 1991, MapFrame says it has 30 U.S. utility customers with 35,000 total end users. While MapFrame’s tech has applications in other industries, such as telecom, the company’s software seems to have already gotten substantial traction in the utility industry.

Dear Customers, Please Foot Smart Grid Bill: So who’s going to pay for all these upgrades to our electrical grid? While tech companies and utilities will make the investment, it can be the customers who will eventually support the upgrade. Customers of ComEd in Chicago could be asked to pay a $3 monthly surcharge for a high-tech grid upgrade, according to the Chicago Tribune, reporting from a Chicago City Council committee meeting.

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