Calico Energy Services: Redefining the Way the World Delivers and Consumes Energy
“Our software helps predict when a city’s electricity may spike, provides them with analytics to make informed decisions and advises them when to take demand down to meet capacity.”
~Mike Miller, President and CEO, Calico Energy Services
Mike Miller serves as president & Chief Executive Officer and is one of the original founders of Calico Energy Services. He is a leader in using SaaS (software as a service) technologies in the utility industry to rapidly modernize grids, increase efficiencies and drive down technology costs. Prior to joining Calico, Mike held a number of executive management positions, including Managing Director of Human Capital Partners International (HCPI), an on-demand/SaaS technology company.
Q: What does your company do?
A: Calico Energy Services provides new solutions to control energy resources and assets. Our customers are utilities and investors, municipalities, and cooperatives.
We address issues such as grid stress. For example: electric vehicles and flat screen TVs consume a lot of energy and drain the power supply. The risk is a rolling brownout or a blackout, because many utilities operate with old infrastructure.
A utility or municipality could limit access to those devices during certain times of the day to even out the electricity load. They can centrally control it all, predict results and save millions of dollars by doing so.
Our software helps predict when a city’s electricity may spike, provides them with analytics to make informed decisions and advises them when to take demand down to meet capacity.
Q: What is special about your solution?
A: Through our unified operating center we centralize everything into one system, with the same control capabilities. Our software helps their systems talk to specific devices and to turn them off if they are too much of a load on the system.
We have the ability to integrate into all types of systems and all devices and all brands – both old and new – so utilities are not evolved out of the market. They can’t replace their infrastructure every year. They need to be able to operate old assets for as long as possible. We future-proof their grids and use just one system to manage them all.
Q: Tell us about the key products you are developing.
A: Our main products include:
- Our utility operating center
- Residential/Home Smart Product
- Business/Commercial Smart Product
Our products provide tailored analytics to each of our customer groups on such things as:
- current load
- how to address stress areas
- predicting stress areas
- targeting a specific geographic area and/or technology
For example, if a water heater is not functioning efficiently, our software alerts the customer and tells them how to adjust it to improve efficiency.
Q: Why did you become interested in this idea?
A: I was in the software business for 25 years. I sold my last company to Key Bank and took some time off immediately afterward to be with my family. During that time I was thinking quite a bit about issues related to energy production because how we manage our resources is so important; they won’t last forever.
Living in the Pacific Northwest I have a great appreciation of natural resources. It’s always been something close to my heart. So when I looked into clean tech it seemed like a natural segue.
Q: What major challenges have you resolved during the development process?
A: For us, the slow maturity of industry standards has been a challenge. Residential, industrial and small business customers each have their own standards. Utilities think in terms of devices, so we focus on improving antiquated assets and adding newer or cutting-edge technology.
Q: What is the most exciting breakthrough you have had recently?
A: We are investing heavily in new products. In particular, these are for customers in the Midwest and Southeast where the greatest fluctuations in weather occur—harsh winters and hot summers.
Q: Are you considering expanding on a global scale?
A: The prospect for adaptation throughout the US is exciting but when we think about grid stresses on a global scale, it becomes another story. In Asia there is a huge demand requirement, China being just one example. There is a need for a balance between production and managed consumption in these developing economies. This is the future for us.