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The Energy Trader in the Basement
By Erick Schonfeld

(Business 2.0) – Peter Corsell wants to give power back to energy consumers. The 28-year-old former CIA analyst is CEO of GridPoint, a Washington, D.C., startup that sells an $11,000 "intelligent energy management" appliance. This refrigerator-size device isn't just a generator; its Internet connection gives it real-time utility pricing information. In markets where electricity prices can fluctuate--which, thanks to the U.S. Energy Policy Act, should be the entire country by early 2007--the appliance lets homes and businesses "arbitrage the grid," Corsell says. "During peak periods it will tap the battery, and then recharge at night when energy is cheaper."

Corsell has already attracted $18 million in funding from an A-list crowd that includes former senator Bill Bradley and tech guru Esther Dyson. Three utility companies--Corsell can't say which--are considering offering subsidies for the appliances; in return, they get to reduce the energy delivered during peak times.

Another selling point: GridPoint's website. It uploads data from the appliance, shows you a breakdown of electricity usage by circuit, and allows you to turn off wasteful circuits. Soon the site will let you type in an electricity budget and then direct the device to help you meet it. Now that's power.


1 Plug Grid Point into your main circuit breaker so it can store and control your electricity.

2 Connect it to the Internet. When electricity prices are high, it will switch to backup power.