Up until now, if you had dreams of managing your household energy consumption with some sort of smart appliance, you had to either live in an area where a utility built its own network (Corpus Christi or Burbank, for example) or rely on some proprietary method of getting data from your site to the electric co. It looks like this is about to change, however. AT&T has announced a deal with smart meter manufacturer SmartSynch that will see the carrier provide two-way communications between the your home and the grid, a "first of its kind" agreement that will allow you to get the most out of those Energy Management Enabled Appliances GE has been feverishly developing. Sure, refrigerators that wait until midnight to defrost aren't as exciting as, say, robotic monster trucks -- but this is progress, man. Show a little enthusiasm.

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AT&T inks deal to provide smart appliances equal time on the grid