A North Dakota utility regulator is praising new computer software that's intended to help utility ratepayers reduce their energy use.
Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark says the Microsoft Hohm (Home) software may help development of the so-called "smart grid."
Under the smart grid concept, energy prices could vary by the time of day, and by how much demand there was for energy at any one time. Customers could save money by shifting their electricity and natural gas use to off-peak periods.
The free software tracks energy use and offers conservation suggestions.
Customers of Xcel Energy who use Microsoft Hohm can have their energy consumption information entered automatically into the program. Clark says Xcel Energy is one of a handful of utilities that offers the benefit. Other customers have to enter the information manually.