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Managing energy remotely

July 12, 2000, 09:50 CEST

A move into remote energy management via the internet has been made by Statoil through a deal which gives it 12 per cent of the Elink company.

Under this agreement, the group will have exclusive Scandinavian rights to market the Ebox net tool for remote control of energy usage.

The device, which is a slightly smaller than a video cassette and plugs directly into a power point, will be offered to Statoil's domestic and corporate customers in Norway from the autumn.

Users can remotely control electric lights or PCs via the net or a Wap mobile phone, for instance, or turn on the heating in a holiday cabin.

Statoil has market-tested the Ebox on customers during the spring, promoting the concept via a simple link to an internet site.

"We received a number of responses, and a good deal of positive feedback," says project manager Øivind Ekne in the processing and marketing unit.

He believes many customers are looking for products which give added value beyond their price, and says the Ebox could be a first step in such a direction.

No price has yet been set for the device. It could either be purchased separately or form part of an electricity subscription with Statoil, which would make it much cheaper. Users must also expect to pay a small amount to cover operation and communication.

The unit is currently being tested in Sweden and will be put on the market there after the New Year. Since electricity deregulation is not as advanced in Denmark as in Sweden or Norway, no decision has yet been taken on introducing it for Danish consumers.