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GE Eco-dashboard for New Home Energy Management

Eco-dashboards will show ratepayers energy savings if they pre-cool or pre-heat their homes during off-peak hours

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General Electric Co. will introduce control panels to the market in December to trim rising utility bills by helping manage power and water consumption.

The company has said that the "eco-dashboard" will be available in December in new home developments in southern and western U.S. states, areas where power and water supplies are particularly stressed.

The panel is designed to show ratepayers how much money they would save if they pre-cooled or pre-heated their homes before electricity prices went up during periods of peak load, usually in the early evening. They also could set the panel to turn up the air conditioning, or run the clothes drier only when the power price gets below a certain level.

Power utilities must provide real-time information on electricity rates to homes for such smart systems to work, but more are doing so as it becomes more difficult and expensive for them to build new power plants.

Called an "eco-dashboard," the control panel could demonstrate for homeowners the ways in which they can save money on their electricity and water bills. It will debut in the southern and western U.S. in December, Reuters reported.

The control panel can give homeowners real-time information on electricity rates, which would allow them the option of pre- setting certain functions, such as air conditioning or heating, for time of the day when electricity is cheaper.

Eventually, the technology also could be used for owners of home solar panels to help them run their systems more economically.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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