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Electric Vehicles Could Lower Power Bills For All Illinois Residents, New Study Finds

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The robust growth projected for the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) market will usher in lower electric bills for all Illinois consumers—including those who don’t own a car—if policy makers adopt key measures necessary to unleash the savings, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the Citizens Utility Board (CUB).

The research is believed to be the nation’s first analysis conducted by a consumer watchdog group into how the surging popularity of EVs on American roadways will impact electric customers and the power grid. The study, Charging Ahead: Deriving Value from Electric Vehicles for All Electricity Customers, is posted on the Research page of CitizensUtilityBoard.org.

Based on data reflecting actual electricity-usage patterns in Illinois, the study found that consumers could reap more than $2.6 billion in cumulative benefits on their power bills by 2030, if state officials establish policies that encourage motorists to charge their cars during times of the day when there is less strain on the power grid and electricity prices are at their lowest.

But if legislators and regulators don’t implement smart charging policies—and EV owners charge their cars during periods of higher power demand—they risk increased stress on the grid and higher power bills. The study’s authors estimate that anticipated EV proliferation could increase Illinois power bills by up to $856 million if nothing is done to encourage smart charging.

The report emphasizes that policy makers—not only in Illinois, but also throughout the country—will determine whether utility consumers capitalize on the savings, as EVs multiply coast to coast.

“While the EV revolution is still in its infancy, we’re already approaching a crucial crossroads in how to manage the ripple effects on our electricity costs,” said CUB Executive Director David Kolata. “This research shows that escalating EV sales could lead to lower utility bills for everyone. To ensure that we seize this opportunity for savings, the public can’t afford for their policy makers to wait.  Action is needed now to set policies that help EV owners charge their cars in a way that benefits everyone.”

The report’s recommendations constitute a policy blueprint that states should embrace in a quest to maximize the savings potential. Foremost among them is a call for states to automatically enroll EV owners in “dynamic” pricing programs, where rates vary depending on the time of day when power is consumed. These rates could apply only to the cost of powering the EV—other household usage would be billed separately according to whatever pricing plan the customer chooses—and car owners could opt-out of the program.

While electricity is most often billed under a fixed rate that rarely changes, dynamic prices fluctuate over the course of the day, as the total volume of demand on the system swells and dips. By funneling EV owners into dynamic plans on an opt-out basis—they could unsubscribe at any time—utilities can ensure the grid digests added demand from EVs without necessitating new expenditures on increased generation capacity or enhanced transmission and distribution infrastructure.  EV owners, meanwhile, would benefit from electricity priced far lower than the regular fixed rate.

The report specifically advocates for automatically enrolling EV owners in a “Time of Use” (TOU) pricing program. A TOU plan would charge different rates for different blocs of time during the day, allowing EV owners to plan their charging when the price is lowest.

“We think TOU rate plans are one of the most practical forms of dynamic pricing, but there are many others,” Kolata said. “The key point for policy makers is that we can harness money-saving power from EVs if we provide car owners with pricing plans that encourage them to charge their cars overnight when the grid is brimming with unused and extremely cheap electricity.”

In a separate analysis of 2016 and 2017 data, CUB found that EV owners on one dynamic pricing plan could cut their electricity supply costs by more than 50 percent.

There are about 15,000 EVs in Illinois today, but the new study projects that number could surge to at least 690,000 by 2030—and it could catapult to as high as 2.2 million if the state embarks on an aggressive effort to reduce carbon emissions during the same time period. Such efforts have been discussed in the nation’s capital as well as the Illinois Legislature, which is now considering a measure, the Clean Energy Jobs Act, that would promote EV growth in Illinois.

Those sales estimates formed the basis for the utility bill savings that the report attributed to EVs. The estimated $2.6 billion in total benefits reflect three different factors:

  • $2 billion in lower costs for energy consumption.
  • $124 million in lower costs for investments in “capacity.” (Capacity refers to long-term purchase agreements a utility makes to ensure there is enough power available to meet future projected demand.)
  • $536 million in additional utility revenue, allowing rate reductions of up to 12 percent.

“Electric vehicles produce many rewards for the public at large, including a reduction in pollution from autos and diminishing dependence on foreign oil,” Kolata said. “Our analysis shows that EVs not only allow drivers to charge a car at a much lower cost than to fill at the pump, but they also have the potential to keep a lid on electric bills for all consumers.”

CUB is celebrating its 35th anniversary as Illinois’ leading nonprofit utility watchdog. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, it has saved consumers more than $20 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds. For more information, call CUB, 1-800-669-5556, or visit CitizensUtilityBoard.org.

SOURCE Citizens Utility Board

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Bleckwen Raises $10m and Appoints David Christie as CEO

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Bleckwen, a provider of real-time analytics software for fraud detection & prevention in payments, has come out of stealth to announce a $10 million first funding round. The funding will be used to support Bleckwen’s international expansion and the continued development of the company’s exciting software capabilities in AI-based fraud detection. The company’s expertise is strategically focused on the wider anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) context. Bleckwen recently spun-off from Ercom, the French cybersecurity firm. The round was led by Ring Capital, a Paris-based venture capital firm and existing investors, including TempoCap, Bpifrance and Ineo, alongside senior management.

Built with banks, for banks, Bleckwen’s real-time, dynamic behavioural analytics & explainable AI-engine is well placed to detect the surging fraud threats in payments, such as authorised push payment fraud or the “human hack” which is growing by circa 60% year-on-year, driven by the surge in real-time payment networks globally. The platform also protects banks from the emergent risks of open banking under PSD2, where banks will no longer have full control of the end-to-end user experience and security perimeter, presenting a completely new threat dimension.

Over the last year, the company has also strengthened its management team with the hire of David Christie, a 20-year veteran in financial services, previously the COO of Euronet’s money transfer business, which included the brands Ria, HiFX and XE. David is also Chairman of VitessePSP and investor in Shieldpay, bringing with him a wealth of experience implementing and operating both fraud and AML systems in payment businesses.

David is also joined by Matt Knowles, who was recently appointed Chairman of Bleckwen. Matt was previously CEO of HiFX, and together he and David successfully scaled HiFX into a world leading international payments company prior to its successful sale to Euronet.

David Christie, Bleckwen’s CEO, commented: “Nearly $4 trillion is stolen and laundered through banks annually – circa 3% of global GDP. Existing technologies are just not cutting it in the fight against this scourge of society. Something else needs to be done and at Bleckwen, we have made tremendous progress over the last two years as part of the Ercom Group, developing solutions to bring the fight to these criminals.”

“This fundraising is confirmation of our ‘scale-up readiness’ and the support from  Ring Capital and our existing investors is testament to our expertise in productising class-leading AI-based analytics in the fight against financial crime for banks. Using Bleckwen’s software, we are seeing false positive ratios drop by over 95%, the time taken to resolve alerts fall by over 50%, and a reduction in fraud loss ratios by over 60% – as compared with incumbent legacy-based rules systems.”

“Working very closely with our customers, which include a tier-1 global bank, we have developed a market-leading, payment-type agnostic, real-time capability to meet their fraud detection and prevention requirements at industrial scale. Bleckwen’s software can also dynamically adapt to ever-changing customer behaviours and profiles. We have also significantly strengthened our senior management team and operational infrastructure and will be opening offices in the UK and the US in 2019.”

Matt Knowles, TempoCap Partner and Bleckwen Chairman, commented: “Having co-founded and scaled an international payments company that processed $20 billion annually, I have extensive real-world experience of the challenges faced by both fintechs and banks in of the domain of fraud detection and AML. I have been deeply impressed by Bleckwen’s advanced use of machine learning technology to radically increase fraud detection over current solutions, but, as importantly, substantially reduce the volume of false positives (which build friction and cost into the customer journey). We see significant potential to commercialise this technology across banks, fintechs & other multi-national enterprises to help combat fraud and AML risk across all payment types.”

Nicolas Celier, co-founder of Ring capital, commented: “Bleckwen has appeared to us as the unique combination of state-of-the-art AI technology, built by a leading French data team, together with top international management with a solid track record of scaling up Fintech companies worldwide. Ring knew Bleckwen before the spin-off and has contributed to design this deal in order to help Bleckwen grow and scale.”

Thierry Sommelet, Managing Director at Bpifrance Growth Capital – Head of Technology, Media, Telecom, said: “Bleckwen is uniquely positioned to help the fast-moving payments ecosystem improve clients’ protection and transaction efficiency, thanks to a leading-edge AI technology and experienced management. We are very happy to see David Christie and Matt Knowles join this adventure, as well as Ring Capital. We are confident that they will collectively thrive in driving the company on its new phase of growth.”

Bleckwen was recently awarded Fintech of the year at the EBAday 2019, an event run by the Euro Banking Association – an expert-led forum for the European payments industry with nearly200 member banks. Selected out of a category of 16 other finalists, the company received the prestigious award based on the innovative and dynamic nature of its market-leading AI-powered platform.

 

SOURCE Bleckwen

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KLoBot – An Enterprise Chatbot Builder Platform launches Twilio Integration to Enhance Customer Experience

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KLoBot – a DIY Chatbot platform is pleased to set in motion the much-awaited integration to Twilio. With technology and social media enabling an always-on approach to business, customer expectations have been higher. Voice and Text enabled chatbots empower customer-facing organizations across numerous industries to communicate and engage with every end user seamlessly.

To learn more about KLoBot, visit us online – www.klobot.ai

“Businesses must support ease of chatbot interactions for their customers using traditional communication such as a simple phone call or text messaging,” said Ragav Jagannathan, Founder of KLoBot, Inc. “With KLoBot based chatbots readily available on Twilio platform, businesses can offer their customers 24/7 first line of support using a simple voice call or SMS to a phone number and automatically have chatbot respond to their query.”

Customers can get access to information ‘on-demand’ via a simple text message or voice call in real time. These cutting edge, no-code chatbots streamline communication and enhance customer engagement. If the requests get complicated, they are smoothly transitioned from bots to human via KLoBot’s ‘Live Agent Handoff’ skill. Watch Video

KLoBot and Twilio, together, will allow companies to manage customer relationship via automating routine tasks and processes. Early adopters of KLoBot can drastically save operation costs, improve sales, offer personalized customer service and in turn, gain a sustainable competitive advantage by discovering the benefits of this KLoBot and Twilio compelling integration.

 

SOURCE KLoBot, Inc.

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Synopsys and GLOBALFOUNDRIES Collaborate to Develop Broad Portfolio of DesignWare IP for 12LP FinFET Process

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Highlights:

  • DesignWare IP portfolio for GLOBALFOUNDRIES 12LP FinFET process includes Multi-Protocol 25G, USB 3.0 and 2.0, PCI Express 2.0, DDR4, LPDDR4/4X, MIPI D-PHY, SD-eMMC, and Data Converters
  • Synopsys’ DesignWare IP are optimized for high performance and low latency in compute-intensive applications, such as artificial intelligence, high-end smartphones, and networking infrastructure
  • Long-standing collaboration between the two companies has resulted in the successful development of DesignWare IP from 180-nm to 12-nm

Synopsys, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS) today announced its collaboration with GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF) to develop a broad portfolio of DesignWare® IP, including Multi-Protocol 25G, USB 3.0 and 2.0, PCI Express® 2.0, DDR4, LPDDR4/4X, MIPI D-PHY, SD-eMMC, and Data Converters, for GF’s 12-nanometer (nm) Leading-Performance (12LP) FinFET process technology. Synopsys’ DesignWare IP on the GF 12LP process enables designers to implement the latest interface and analog IP solutions in their artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, mobile, and consumer system-on-chips (SoCs) on GF’s 12LP technology, which delivers a 10 percent improvement in logic density and more than a 15 percent improvement in performance compared to previous FinFET generations. This collaboration is another extension to the long-standing relationship between the two companies, which has delivered DesignWare IP for GF’s processes from 180-nm to 12-nm.

“In response to growing demand for differentiated, feature-rich FinFET offerings, we are collaborating with Synopsys to provide quality IP in GF’s processes, enabling designers to deliver differentiated products to a broad set of market segments,” said Mark Ireland, vice president of Ecosystem Partnerships at GF. “The combination of our 12LP process with 3D FinFET transistor technology and Synopsys’ high-performance DesignWare IP allows our mutual customers to accelerate their time to volume production.”

“As the leading provider of interface IP, Synopsys continues to collaborate with key foundries, such as GF, to deliver DesignWare IP solutions for the latest FinFET process technologies,” said John Koeter, vice president of marketing for IP at Synopsys. “With Synopsys’ DesignWare IP portfolio in GF’s 12LP process, designers can efficiently integrate the necessary functionality into their complex SoCs while meeting the bandwidth and power requirements of their mobile and high-end computing applications.”

 

SOURCE Synopsys, Inc.

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