EcoDog Expands as Developer Puts Energy Watchdog in New “Eco-Savvy” Homes

When I had breakfast recently with Ron Pitt, he pointed out that there are only about 100 or so major, investor-owned utilities in the United States—but there are roughly 70 million owner-occupied single-family homes.

So why, in the name of God’s greenhouse gases, are so many venture-backed startups focused on developing cleantech innovations and smart grid technologies for sale to utilities?

It’s a rhetorical question, but Pitt has a point. “People keep wanting to turn the smart grid into the next Internet,” he said. “I keep hearing people talk about ‘What is the next killer app?'” But Pitt, who has a lot of experience in software development and in the solar electric market, said there is no open control of the power grid, and the smart grid—unlike the Internet—does not want to be free. As Pitt puts it, “SDG&E [San Diego Gas & Electric] could care less about enabling new technologies that allow entrepreneurs to make money.”

Pitt’s skepticism may go against the current, especially since the Obama Administration awarded more than $3.4 billion in grants last fall to spur the development of smart grid technologies meant to trim utility bills, reduce blackouts, and promote renewable energy. Most, if not all, of that money went to utility-led projects.

But as the founding CEO of San Diego-based EcoDog, Pitt has put his money where his opinions are. As we reported last summer, EcoDog’s principal product is Fido, a home energy-monitoring device that … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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