Creating a wired HAN standard


Paul De Martini,
Vice President,
Southern California
San Ramon, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 26, 2008 – Utilities led by American Electric Power, Consumers Energy, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Reliant Energy, Sempra, and Southern California Edison are working with the ZigBee® Alliance and the HomePlug® Powerline Alliance to develop a common application layer integrated solution for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and home area networks (HAN).

Using the robust capabilities of the ZigBee Smart Energy public application profile as a baseline, the three groups will expand the application layer and enable it to run on HomePlug technology, providing utilities with both wireless and wired HAN industry standards to select from when implementing new AMI programs.

Energy management programs that encourage load shifting and energy conservation allow customers to save money and reduce their environmental impact. Creating a unified solution using the leading open wireless and wired standards will expand the development and certification of devices such as thermostats, pool pumps, water heaters and other high energy use devices ideally suited for connection to a HAN. In May 2008, the ZigBee Alliance certified a number of interoperable ZigBee Smart Energy products from a dozen companies.

“This initiative will provide seamless application integration using ZigBee or HomePlug devices, providing the flexibility utilities need when implementing AMI and smart metering programs,” said Paul De Martini, vice president at Southern California Edison. “Mainstream market adoption of a common technology accelerates our ability to empower our customers to manage their energy usage."

“The integration of a common application layer across these technologies will allow a common certification process which is critical for plug-and-play interoperability,” said Chris Knudsen, director of PG&E’s technology innovation center. “Without such integration it will not be possible to scale energy efficiency applications and services.”

“ZigBee Smart Energy was developed by utility companies, product manufacturers and technology suppliers so it makes perfect sense to leverage that collaboration,” said Bob Heile, ZigBee Alliance chairman. “Expediting the rollout of energy management and efficiency programs that help everyone better manage their energy use is our common goal and the ZigBee Alliance is proud to play a key role in this process.”

Providing connectivity between utilities and consumers is an ongoing initiative for the HomePlug Alliance. “With more than 20 million HomePlug enabled products in use on six continents, HomePlug technology is the leading global standard for power-line networks,” said Rob Ranck, HomePlug Alliance president. “As utilities and access providers aggressively deploy HomePlug technology in applications around the world for electric grid management, automatic meter reading applications and demand response, BPL and command and control applications continue to be a driving force for the Alliance.”