Joining Whirlpool on the path toward Smart Grid–enabled appliances, GE is now testing models that will communicate between the utility and the homeowner to ensure appliances are operating at the optimum time of day, lessening the load on the power grid and saving energy costs. For example, the refrigerator will hold the high-energy defrost cycle until off-peak hours; the water heater will operate in its most efficient mode during high-demand periods; and appliances will shift to power-saving modes until rates are lower. Accompanying this launch will be GE’s Home Energy Manager (shown), a 7-inch touchscreen display with a graphic interface for viewing real-time and long-term energy consumption, as well as water consumption, solar energy generation (if applicable), weather forecasts, and more.