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The incentive and motivation to manage energy at the household level is influenced by commercial and technical reasons. Commercially, it offers the otherwise passive residential customer to be active in the energy market. The technical aspect enables them to provide support to the network operator through demand response, peak shaving and load shifting measures as well as provide ancillary services. There are pilot projects demonstrating advantages of functional home energy management systems. Also important are the socio-economic impacts of such systems, an aspect though often overlooked. This paper reviews the concept of energy management systems for residential customers and looks into the background of smart home energy management system technologies. It highlights the major components, and comparatively analyzes various technological approaches. It also discusses some of the concerns and challenges such as cost, implementation and privacy issues of smart technologies and makes suggests a framework for future systems.