Reducing electrical through meaningful conservation programs is the “happy face of the smart grid,” according to an optimist at last February’s Distributech show. While conservation may be able forestall building new power plants, for a while, it needs to be encouraged with easy to use tools or it won’t catch on enough to make a difference.

One product leading the way is ThinkEco’s “modlet,” short for modern outlet, which is a smart surge protector that monitors the electrical usage pattern of devices plugged into it. The modlet recommends or automatically sets on/off periods to stop phantom power usage when a device is on standby. ThinkEco is developing a modlet that works with the Tendril Connect home automation platform, so Tendril’s utility partners can add the modlet to its energy-conservation arsenal.

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