Retail HAN devices with Zigbee move into Southern Cal


By: SGN Staff

Quick Take: It will be of great interest to see if consumers value ZigBee as a feature. I am skeptical they will understand the value. We're also curious to learn if ZigBee has achieved true plug and play. - By Jesse Berst


Here's a little something utility folks might find interesting: Residential energy management product developer Rainforest Automation has partnered with Southern Cal Edison (SCE) to sell its smart meter-reading EMUâ„¢ Energy Monitoring Unit directly consumers at six Best Buy stores in southern California.


The move is in response to a mandate by California regulators last month that requires IOUs to start making smart meter home area network (HAN) capabilities available to their customers. The EMUs are capable of directly reading smart meter data.


The device has been available through retail outlets in Texas for over a year. After several trials, the EMUs is coming to California, starting in SCE's service area - and will be available in the service areas of other utilities as they initiate their HAN programs.


The EMU incorporates Zigbee wireless to connect to the smart meter and get the information, a process that works a lot like a computer WiFi connection but with a lot less power and high security encryption, Rainforest says.


As an incentive, eligible SCE customers can get a $50 reward card for registering and activating their EMUs before year end.


Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.