The PG&E HAN (Home Area Network) allowing consumption monitoring

The PG&E HAN (Home Area Network) now allows digital devices in your home to wirelessly connect with your SmartMeter™. For the first time, PG&E customers can connect a HAN energy monitoring device to their SmartMeter™ and view a digital display of their actual electricity usage and costs in near real-time.

Your SmartMeter™ actually has two radios: the first relays your consumption and meter status back to PG&E and the second is for the Home Area Network, which is turned off by default. When you sign up for HAN, this second radio is activated and it takes the electricity usage information it already gathers and makes it available to your HAN device in near real-time (about a 15-60 second delay mostly dependent on the device and meter models). A range of HAN devices can use or display this type of information in various ways and several are compatible for a SmartMeter™.

The Home Area Network and the HAN device were the topics of focus last month at a CALSEIA Bay Area Chapter event. CALSEIA Bay Area Chapter President and Clean Solar CEO Randy Zechman moderated the discussion at the Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco on the evening of March 19, 2015 between representatives from PG&E and Rainforest Automation, a HAN device manufacturer.

Kimberly Conley of PG&E discussed the infrastructure of the Home Area Network and how much the utility can integrate with the device. Conley is a Senior Product Manager at PG&E where she manages the real-time energy monitoring data product to help people reduce their use. She is a planner, activist, and environmentalist passionate about urbanity.

Chris Tumpach is the co-founder of Rainforest Automation and spoke about the technical aspects of the device itself. Tumpach currently leads up business development enabling customers to have products that are perfectly suited to their unique needs. His experience in the areas of hardware engineering, integrated circuit engineering, software engineering, and web design put him in a unique position to lead a company that integrates these various disciplines seamlessly.

The event was attended by more than 40 individuals from the solar installation, manufacturing, and non-profit sectors. PG&E sponsored the event space and Darfon sponsored refreshments.

To sign up for the Home Area Network, log in to your PG&E account and visit your HAN dashboard. Eligible HAN-compatible SmartMeters will be displayed, once you can confirm there is an eligible one, just purchase a device to connect. All PG&E residential rates are eligible to participate in this program and if you’re a solar customer, all you may need to do is have your meter upgraded at no charge.