News Release

Consert Inc. Turns To Verizon Wireless' Reliable Network To Help Texas Cooperatives Reduce Energy Consumption Through Pilot Programs

Smart Grid Solution Proves Value During Significant Weather Events

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June 21, 2011

Paul Macchia
Paul.Macchia@VerizonWireless.com
908-559-3019

Katie Lennon
KLennon@piersongrant.com
919-741-3180

BASKING RIDGE, NJ, and AUSTIN, TX — Verizon Wireless and Consert Inc., an intelligent load management technology company, today announced early results from smart grid pilot projects with Texas-based Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative and Pedernales Electric Cooperative, both of which are in partnership with the Lower Colorado River Authority. 

Consert utilizes Verizon Wireless’ reliable 3G and 4G LTE networks to provide real-time communication from a consumer’s electric meter to the Consert data center.  This highly secure network delivers fast data speeds and increased efficiencies for utilities. 

Designed to create a more reliable electric grid by offering real-time, integrated load management through the pairing of utility and consumer offerings, the Consert Virtual Peak PlantSM (VPP) Solution proved to be effective in tests conducted during the state’s severe winter weather events in February and high daily temperatures in May.  

As part of the pilot programs, both Bluebonnet and Pedernales utilized the Consert VPP Solution to empower Central Texas residential and small commercial members to actively monitor and control their energy usage through a smart Home Area Network (HAN) installed at their properties.

“The utilities sector is a leader in implementing advanced wireless technologies by leveraging smart energy grid tools such as the Consert VPP Solution and the Verizon Wireless network,” said Anna Bailey, director, sales, utilities and industrial, Verizon Wireless.  “The real-time communications advantage that Verizon Wireless provides is a significant point of differentiation between Consert and its competitors’ capabilities.”

How It Works

Consert establishes a smart HAN on a consumer’s property by attaching intelligent load measurement and control hardware to major energy consuming devices, such as heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters, and pool pumps, and utilizing programmable thermostats that communicate with a gateway module residing inside the electric meter. 

Through Consert’s proprietary software, pilot participants set daily energy use profiles, monitor their energy consumption, and authorize their electric cooperative to cycle their devices off for brief periods during peak energy consumption events. 

Program Successes

Consert’s load management system proved effective in tests during the severe winter weather Texas faced in February which resulted in record demands on the electric grid.  Bluebonnet utilized the Consert VPP Solution to adjust pilot participants’ device settings within the limits set by their personal energy profiles to run control events to reduce load. 

During these control event tests which spanned eight hours, Bluebonnet was able to reduce load demand by approximately five kilowatts per pilot participant, with little or no noticeable impact to comfort levels.  In addition, early results show that the Consert VPP Solution has measured and verified a reduction in energy consumption of up to 17 percent in some participating households. 

“Our tests on Consert’s technology during the winter load events showed the enormous potential of a load management program that benefits both consumers and utilities,” said Mark Rose, Bluebonnet chief executive officer.  “Consert’s system reduced critical load as requested and provided real-time, measurable and verifiable results.  When used on a broader scale, this technology will be another way for Texas utilities to address, and hopefully avoid, future outage scenarios.”

Pedernales tested the Consert VPP Solution in May to determine the system’s capabilities during pre-summer temperature days.  During its control events, Pedernales was able to adjust pilot participants’ device settings as permitted to reduce load and test member behavior to determine the optimum control event duration in kilowatt reduction to minimize participant opt-outs during control events.

“Consert’s solution provides us with the opportunity to leverage energy consumption during times of peak while enabling our members to have control of their energy use,” said R.B. Sloan, Pedernales chief executive officer.  “This pairing of utility and consumer offerings is critical to enabling viable load management.” 

Both pilot programs received great acclaim from residential and small business consumers who tested the Consert VPP Solution.  Bluebonnet pilot participants surveyed expressed 100 percent satisfaction with the load management solution and 95 percent of those surveyed in Pedernales’ pilot program shared their approval as well. 

The success of Consert’s pilot programs throughout the state also led to an announcement earlier in the week of the company’s agreement with San Antonio-based CPS Energy that will result in the reduction of 250 megawatts of peak demand over the next four years.  Poised to relocate its corporate headquarters and senior leadership from Raleigh, N.C., to San Antonio in July, Consert will create over 150 jobs by 2014.

“These pilot programs were pivotal for Consert as we were able to demonstrate our proprietary technology to enable grid enhancements and member energy savings for Bluebonnet and Pedernales,” said Jack Roberts, president and chief executive officer, Consert.  “We are well positioned with our relocation to Texas to become an integral part of the state’s future in the electric grid technology.”

Energy on a Reliable Network

The Consert VPP Solution operates over Verizon Wireless’ 3G and 4G LTE networks which provide data to utilities in real-time enabling quick load projections and power usage management to effectively manage load resources.

Verizon Wireless offers wireless and wireline products and services that provide enterprise and government customers in a variety of industries with the networking capabilities they require to keep their organizations running at top speeds today and in the future.

Verizon Wireless and its Business Solutions Alliance provide leading wireless solutions to meet the challenges of the electrical utilities industry.  Smart metering, distribution grid management and demand response applications backed by the Verizon Wireless network make smart grid solutions a reality for the utilities industry.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s fastest, most advanced 4G network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 104 million total wireless connections, including more than 88 million retail customers.  Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 85,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD).  For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

About Consert Inc.
Consert Inc. is an intelligent load management technology company.  Consert’s Virtual Peak PlantSM load management system is the only solution proven to provide reliable, real-time, fully-integrated load management through the pairing of utility and consumer offerings.  A demonstration of the application as used by a residential consumer can be viewed at http://bit.ly/ConsertAtHome.  Consert is a partner with Hometown Connections.  For more information, visit Consert.com.  

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