Smart metering on West Coast under the spotlight


Erich Gunther,
Chairman and
Chief Technology Officer
of EnerNex Corporation
Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 22, 2007 – With over 140 participants from seven countries, Smart Metering West Coast 2007 kicked off to a good start Monday, August 20, with a Home Area Networks (HAN) workshop, led by Erich Gunther, chairman and chief technology officer of EnerNex Corporation.

The workshop examined the critical role of AMI in this rapidly developing technology, and the steps towards a unified utility requirement specification and architecture for the HAN as it relates to utility applications, which is currently under development by the OpenHAN task force.

Said Gunther after the workshop: “The HAN workshop was instrumental in getting industry feedback on the work of the OpenHAN task force.”

The delegation was also led on a field visit to Southern California Edison’s (SCE) SmartConnect Field Test and Meter Testing facility in Westminster. SCE manager of deployment, Jim Gregory welcomed the group with a brief description of the SmartConnect program, which will involve the rollout of 5.3 million meters to households and small businesses throughout SCE’s service territory over the next five years.

Earlier this year the program was awarded the 2007 Smart Grid Outstanding Leadership Award.

Jim Cherrie, head of the SmartConnect field testing phase 1, outlined the particulars of the testing and during the current year, two types of meters are being tested in the laboratory and in the field. Type one is between Itron and Cellnet/Landis+Gyr, while the second type is yet to be determined. Four geographically diverse areas covering different climates, terrains, and urban and rural situations have been selected and both single and side-by-side meter placement is being tested. In 2008 there will be full systems testing, followed by full system rollout starting in 2009 and running through 2012.

Marshall Parsons, SmartConnect project manager, reviewed the “Big 5” program risks. These are:

  • Scalability, with the requirement to service 5 million accounts
  • Security, ensuring the system is safe from intrusion
  • Firmware download (over the air), to future proof the system
  • Coverage, in order to validate the economic viability of the project
  • Network management, with adequate operational support.