Setting up Appliance Usage by Energy Costs
Original Publication Date: 2001-Sep-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Disclosed is a method of enabling power consuming devices to adjust their power usage based on real-time cost of power information provided by power companies. This would allow individuals and businesses to better manage their consumption of power and lower power bills. By making these devices programmable, individuals and business can customize how they respond to increasing power costs. Energy companies already use power lines to transmit information. A typical example is household electric meters that send monthly consumption readings to the power company for use in billing. It has been proposed that power companies also sent cost of power, or rate, information across their power lines. The cost of consuming power varies during the day, and devices could use the transmitted rate information to regulate their consumption of electricity. Disclosed are devices that can be programmed to either adjust levels, or not operate at all, depending on the cost of power consumption being received from the power company. For example, once pricing levels went above a certain threshold, lights could dim or thermostats controlling air conditioners could increase the desired temperature in a house or business. Multiple levels could be defined, so that a thermostat could raise the temperature more each time a pricing threshold was reached. The settings on the devices could be programmed so that the owner of the device could customize it, or so that power companies could adjust consumption on multiple devices at a time. Appliances that consume a large amount of electricity could also be fitted with small displays indicating the cost of running immediately versus using a time delay option to start. This would allow the user to make an informed decision about when to run the machine, such as a dishwasher or clothes dryer. If the cost is over a certain threshold, the user could be forced to "override" the appliance to use it immediately.