GE Develops Power Shifting Appliances

General Electric will be testing a line of appliances which can wirelessly communicate with special “smart” electric meters.

The electric meters, in use by many utility companies across America, send signals to the appliances that direct the appliances to alter operations to use less electricity during peak times.

”Now that ENERGY STAR® appliances are recognized by 75% of American consumers, the next step is to reshape when energy is being used,” said Kevin Nolan, Vice President Technology for GE Consumer & Industrial.

For example, the automatic defrost feature on GE refrigerators is initiated by the internal electronics based on the number of refrigerator door openings and other input signals. If the refrigerator can delay the defrost cycle from occurring during peak energy usage hours, consumers will save money by paying for the same amount of energy later in the day when the rates are lower.

The appliance does have the option to override the commands so the appliances can operate at full power during peak times.

GE will introduce the suite of Energy Management Enabled Appliances in the first quarter of 2009. The new “smart” appliances will include refrigerators, ranges, laundry pairs, microwave ovens, and dishwashers.

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