Texas Smart Meter Roll-Out Update

By Vernon Trollinger, July 5, 2011, Green, News, Save Money

A little while ago, ERCOT released some info on TDSP deployment of Smart Meters in Texas. As of May 31:

Oncor:    1,795,301
Centerpoint:    1,393,571
AEP:    290,543

Total ERCOT Smart Meter installs: 3,479,415

This means that nearly 3.5 million Texans now have the ability to check and monitor their energy usage in 15 minute blocks by going to Smart Meter Texas and become a registered user of Smart Meter Texas. Eventually, both residential and business consumers will be able to access Smart Meter Texas directly from their REPs website.

But that’s not all.

The PUC has been very, very busy hammering together the technology to bring consumers more tools to monitor and control their use of Texas electricity. The news now is that the PUC’s Project #34610 —which oversees Smart Meter Texas— has produced a list of Texas compatible HAN devices.

Wow! Great! Er…What’s a HAN?

Back in the February 23 blog, you may have read about HANs. A Home Area Network (HAN) is the same thing as a Local Area Network that you have in your home. Your HAN can be several computers, TV’s, printers, game consoles, iPads, and other devices connected through a cabled and wired router to an internet connection. Or it might be just one laptop and a wireless modem.

Now, there are also numerous devices that can be connected wirelessly to your smart meter that also can connect to your HAN. Many of these let you control and monitor them remotely via an internet connection without the use of a service or a third party. These can be thermostats, load control switches, and computer gateways. Most of them have built-in web interfaces which means you can control them via your favorite web browser. I’ll confess, the Ecobee EB-STAT-02 is my favorite. You can access remotely via any web browsing device and see how much energy you are using in real time. It will also send you emails if your HVAC system isn’t working or if it’s time for filter to be changed. The price, though is a little steep —over $300.

The May 2011 HAN Interoperability List shows the manufacturers, devices, firmwares, protocols, and what TDSP tested them. It’s a handy list to look over if you are thinking about incorporating smart devices into your home, especially when it comes to compatibility issues with your TDSP. Right now, Texas leads the way nationally in this kind of technology implementation so a lot of it is just around the corner.

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A native of Wyomissing Hills, PA, Vernon Trollinger studied writing and film at the University of Iowa, later earning his MA in writing there as well. Following a decade of digging in CRM archaeology, he now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, DIY projects, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.

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