• AI
  • Home Energy Management
  • Residential DER

Birth of The Residential Customer-Sited and AI-Powered Energy Management and Procurement Agent

Roberto Rodriguez Labastida
May 09, 2019

Electrical Substation

In a previous blog, I mentioned how energy supplier auto-switching companies could push retail energy margins down by efficiently moving customers to cheaper deals automatically. Two acquisitions happening between energy startups were announced that could enhance this proposition by combining auto-switching with deep energy consumption knowledge.

On April 17, 2019, Verv confirmed that it had acquired Labrador, an auto-switching company. Verv is a home energy management systems (HEMS) technology provider with a hub and algorithm that enables it to disaggregate loads at home without energy meters at each plug. 

Meanwhile, in Germany on April 25, 2019, GreenCom Networks announced the acquisition of Shine, a German company that made its name by building up energy management services for residential customers. Shine has a smart meter capable of a deep understanding of energy consumption through disaggregation algorithms. The combination of technology that understands a household energy consumption behavior with one that can understand market conditions and act on behalf of the customer could revolutionize the retail energy market. 

AI Agents Ease Customer Access to Green Energy Adoption 

While most residential customers want greener, more reliable, and cheaper energy, few are willing to spend significant time and effort learning how to achieve it (either through own energy efficiency measures or by switching energy suppliers). An artificial intelligence (AI) based residential energy agent that could sort this information for the customer based on real-time needs, environmental parameters, and initial settings based on the customer views on different criteria (type of household, how price sensitive it is, level of comfort required, etc.) could solve the main barrier to personalized energy choices.

Combining a HEMS and an AI market agent is an evolutionary step beyond supplier switching. Once implemented, the technology could determine which appliances are energy intensive and perhaps suggest new ones that could reduce energy consumption or suggest buying solar and a battery options to reduce demand payments.

Deploying a combined HEMS and AI market agent could also help energy suppliers (even though it helps customers switch). Currently, energy suppliers are struggling to differentiate from others, forcing them to cut prices to maintain market share (diminishing profitability). With a HEMS and AI market agent solution, the suppliers could offer personalized energy rates that go beyond flat-rate or energy community offerings in the market. The supplier would have little risk in this option, as any consumption behavior changes (from an additional television, for example) would be detected in real time.