Duke Energy has selected California-based Echelon Corp. and Massachusetts-based Ambient Corp. to further develop its grid-based communications architecture that connects various digital devices such as smart meters, power line sensors and automated power switching equipment.
Duke Energy currently uses products developed by both Ambient and Echelon as part of its smart grid deployment efforts in Ohio, and in pilot projects in North Carolina and South Carolina.
A key component of Duke Energy's smart grid communications architecture is the communications node. The nodes are installed on the grid alongside electric power transformers located overhead and at ground level. Once in place, the devices gather data from numerous digital devices and send it over a telecommunications network to Duke Energy, where the information is collected and used for various business purposes such as billing and power grid management.
Energy usage information is also made available to customers so they can see their specific energy usage data, which they can then use to make more informed decisions about how and when to use energy.