By Kevin Stark

Phone applications and other devices that help manage home energy use are growing in popularity, but accessibility to new grid technology remains a persistent problem.

A recent University of Chicago survey found racial and income gaps in awareness about smart meters, and most efficiency apps that help consumers manage their home energy use rely on data derived from these meters.

To solve this problem, the Chicago-based environmental nonprofit Delta Institute is launching Lumin, a mobile notification service designed to help Chicago customers manage their energy bill. It’s a new iteration of DeltaLumin, an online suite of consumer energy services.

“We are providing a service to low and moderate-income consumers to more flexibly pay their utility bill and gain easier access to subsidies,” said Kevin Dick, Delta Institute’s director. “They can unlock the benefits of the utility of the future — solar, incentive programs for energy efficiency, all of it. The current system is not set up for them.”

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