GridGlo Raises $1.2 Million To Help Utilities Understand How Customers Use Electricity

A New York research firm that turns massive amounts of data into streamlined information, CUBRC (pronounced “coo-brick”) invested $1.2 million in seed finance, and established a strategic partnership with GridGlo — a smart grid technology startup from Delray Beach, Florida, the companies revealed today.

GridGlo sells software and services that help utilities see how and why their customers, primarily homeowners, are using electricity in real-time. They also provide utilities with an Energy People Scoring Mechanism, or EPM score that the company hopes will become a standard like the FICO score is to credit card issuers and other financial institutions.

The EPM (see screenshots, below) is based on four criteria: how much power a customer uses and from which sources including things like rooftop solar panels (consumption); how efficient a consumer is compared to neighboring customers or their own past behavior (efficiency); whether or not they frequently try or are willing to try things that the utility suggests like buying a more efficient refrigerator or shutting off the air conditioner during peak hours (engagement); and whether or not the consumer is consistent in their energy related habits (predictability).

How is GridGlo’s offering different from those of well-established smart grid intelligence businesses, like OPOWER, Silver Spring Networks and Comverge?

The chief executive of GridGlo, Isais Sudit, explained:

“Several companies doing great things to move the market forward, here. At GridGlo, we’re using a deeper level of analytics, though, and handling a greater amount of data — 1,300 criteria to start — than any other companies in the energy space. Also, we focus strictly on helping the utilities. We don’t have a consumer-facing app or product. It is our aim to help the utilities offer what works best for their business, and their market to the energy consumer.

Our technology can tell a utility if their customers are married, have kids, living in a 5,000 square foot home, if and when they installed solar panels, if they drive a hybrid electric vehicle, if they had the same job for the last ten years, haven’t moved in that time and more. You put those components together and you begin to build an understanding of how this is all related to energy consumption.

When that happens, your relationships with customers improve, and your business becomes more predictable.”

Ostensibly, if utilities can make sense of a plethora of energy data — coming in every fifteen minutes or even more quickly from smart meters, smart appliances and home energy management systems — and fuse it with other available information about their customers, they will be able to motivate those customers to use electricity more efficiently, or to use electricity from renewable and clean sources more often.

GridGlo is still in a proof-of-concept phase, Sudit admitted. He could not yet provide firm evidence that the EPM, or other GridGlo technology will actually help utilities engender this behavioral change — yet.

Images and captions via GridGlo:

    1. A map that shows GridGlo’s Energy People Meter scoring and ranking technology for different zip codes. The component scores for one of the zip code areas is shown in the pop-up window.

    2. A map that color codes different zip codes based on the energy that households in the area are consuming. Attributes contributing to the model (e.g. average square footage, average household size) are shown in the lower panel.