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NRG Energy Company Puts The Spotlight On Green Energy At CES 2011

Jacob Chung |
January 6, 2011 | 11:54 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

eVgo charging unit for electric vehicles
eVgo charging unit for electric vehicles
Nuzzled between the extravagant Audi showcase and the scantly clad women promoting iPhone chargers in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center is an exhibit on smart energy solutions, which, despite tantalizing competition to either side, is receiving a respectable amount of onlookers. 

Despite the glitz and glamor of the new gadgets big and small, it seems many in the tech industry are still interested in a greener future. 

NRG Energy Company—a Fortune and S&P 500 electric provider based out of Princeton, New Jersey—had on display a mock two-story house with a futuristic screen displaying the company’s e-Sense software.  

In this particular smart home, the e-Sense technology monitors the energy consumption in the home and renders a summary ranging from an hourly to yearly segments.

“Before e-Sense, customers just got one bills without details each month,” said NRG’s Communication Manager, Chevalier Mayes. In conjunction with a breakdown of the energy bill, the service couples reminders via text and emails to alert the customers of unexpected high rates.  

The e-Sense service is a step toward a smarter and more efficient energy consumer and is offered free of charge (pardon the pun) for all electric power customers in the company’s grid.

The smart grid continues downstairs to a mock garage where NRG had on display their second CES product, the eVgo. 

Following a recent surge of electric vehicles in the market, NRG has developed a viable infrastructure of electric charging stations in both a domestic and commercial setting. 

The eVgo is currently only offered in Houston for city vehicles but with the demonstration at CES, NRG announced they would roll out the system for domestic use in the first quarter of 2011. 

The home eVgo unit will be a level two unit, as opposed to a more powerful level three commercial unit, and supply a full charge to electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF in four hours. Pricing model for the technology is based on usage and will begin at a monthly charge of $49 for just the unit, to $79 for the unit and home charging, and $89 for the unit as well as home and city charging. 

The roll out is expected to start in Houston and expand into other regions in Texas including Dallas and Austin by late March. When asked about a national expansion, the NRG representatives were not ready to comment. 

Reach reporter Jacob Chung here.



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