California IOUs initiate home area network device validation


Ted Reguly, Director
of Customer Programs
and Projects, SDG&E
San Diego, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 17, 2013 – California’s three investor-owned utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Southern California Edison, have initiated a process to validate in-home energy display and other home area network (HAN) devices, which will enable customers to see how much energy they are using and help them manage that energy use.

The aim of the “California IOUs HAN device compatibility validation”is to ensure that the devices are compatible with the companies’ smart meters. It is a requirement before such devices can be provisioned to the relevant company’s smart meters. Such devices must also be commercially available for end use customers to purchase.

According to the validation guide, the validation process is not a certifying body to ensure that HAN devices will function as described by their manufacturers regarding all areas of their promised functionality. Rather, the process is to test and validate that submitted devices can successfully pair with the smart meters at the respective utility and their specific hardware/firmware meter versions in order to provide customers with their realtime energy use.

Successful validation also does not constitute endorsement by any of the IOUs.

For PG&E, Silver Springs Network enabled GE and Landis+Gyr residential and small commercial customer meters are tested with the devices. Up to 20 devices can be provisioned to the meter; however PG&E strongly recommends using a gateway device if a customer intends to connect more than 5 devices.

For SDG&E, Itron residential meters used by SDG&E are tested with the devices. Up to 3 devices can be provisioned at any given time.

For SCE, HAN device testing is being conducted using Itron and Landis+Gyr smart meters with a mixture of hardware, firmware, and configurations. Up to 5 devices can be provisioned at any given time.

Device types that can be validated, in addition to in-home displays, include gateways, USB dongles, load control devices and plug load controls, programmable communicating thermostats (PCTs), range extenders, and smart appliances.

Last week SDG&E released its list of validated devices. The company has also developed a simple online process by which customers may purchase any of these devices in the retail market and pair that device with their smart meter.

“Now that this technology is enabled through SDG&E’s smart meter system, customers can see how much energy they are using in their home in near realtime, which gives them greater control of their energy use on a daily basis,” said Ted Reguly, SDG&E’s director of customer programs and projects.

Responsibility for ensuring that validated devices remain compatible is with the manufacturers. In particular mandatory retesting and revalidation will be required if there are meter hardware or firmware updates, if any changes are made to the device, there is addition of a new feature to the ZigBee firmware, or a layout change of the module used (these latter three criteria also following the ZigBee SEP requirements).