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Nest Labs’ Smart Thermostat Now Does Business with Utilities

Nest Labs Smart Thermostat Now Does Business with Utilities MIT Technology Review


At $249 a pop, that’s a nice business. But more interesting is what Nest has been up to since last May in Texas, where an Austin utility is paying Nest to remotely turn down people’s air conditioners in order to conserve power on hot summer days—just when electricity is most expensive.

For utilities, this kind of “demand response” has long been seen as a killer app for a smart electrical grid, because if electricity use can be lowered just enough at peak times, utilities can avoid firing up costly (and dirty) backup plants.

Demand response is a neat trick. The Nest thermostat manages it by combining two things that are typically separate—price information and control over demand. It’s consumers who control the air conditioners, electric heaters, and furnaces that dominate a home’s energy diet. But the actual cost of energy can vary widely, in ways that consumers only dimly appreciate and can’t influence.

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Not sure if this is a neat trick as the article suggests, or if it's disturbing that demand pricing is creeping into all aspects of life from Uber to Disneyland tickets.

nests are sooooooo easy to break into... seems more like an ideal terror vector to me.

Wait, they didn't fix that with the latest software upgrade?!

maybe, but if it's connected, it's vulnerable....

Well that makes me not want to get a Nest. Nor any connected thermostat.

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