Sensus and Home Automation, Inc.(HAI) are partnering to deliver Home Area Network (HAN) devices for demand response, energy display, and comfort control to the utility marketplace. Thousands of devices have already been distributed to five utilities across the country.
An important component of this agreement is to provide solutions for utilities so that they can access demand relief when needed to reduce the need for new power plants. In one example, Cleco, an electric utility serving central Louisiana, is using the HAI/FlexNet combination in their demand response pilot. Dean Sikes, Manager Transmission Protection, Apparatus, and Metering at Cleco, said, “We chose HAI because their thermostat met our requirement for ease of override, allowing our customers to respond swiftly and easily when receiving a price signal event. FlexNet meets our requirement for robust communications performance in communicating into the home to the thermostat.”
HAI’s Omnistat 2 thermostat when paired with Sensus’ FlexNet creates a HAN device that allows customers to adjust temperatures and air conditioning use based on the cost of electricity, which is indicated on the thermostat’s display. Customers also have the option to override the settings for special events, and they can see and adjust their thermostats when away from home on a secure site from any internet computer. And the HAI wireless Load Control Module (LCM) allows two-way control of air conditioning units, pool pumps, water heaters and other loads based on cost of energy and critical peak pricing events.
An In-Home Display (IHD) shows the current cost of electricity, time until the next rate period, information about power outages and expected time of power restoral. It can receive and display messages from the utility, even during an outage, allowing utilities to inform their customers of the estimated restoral time and reduce call center traffic. The IHD can also transmit signals back to the utility, and can be used in future pre-pay and remote disconnect/reconnect programs.