Wednesday, 8 October 2008

An offering for utilities to improve efficiency of DR programmes

Honeywell Utility Solutions has built on the success of the original UtilityPRO, making the thermostat more effective for both utilities and its customers.

The company has introduced a ZigBee-enabled version of UtilityPRO, a touchscreen programmable thermostat designed for utility-sponsored demand response programmes.

The thermostat now includes two-way communications via a ZigBee networking module, enabling utilities to tap into the smart grid and provide customers with more insight into their energy use. Two-way communication gives utilities the ability to gather detailed performance metrics, for example, so they can analyse the success of a demand response event and make any necessary changes to help achieve load-reduction goals. This ultimately provides better peak energy control.

“By adding ZigBee functionality, we’re now creating a tighter link between the utility and homeowner, helping deliver on the promise of the smart grid,” said Kevin McDonough, general manager, Honeywell Utility Solutions.

According to the company, the new version of UtilityPRO communicates with smart meters and networks using ZigBee, an open wireless networking standard. This allows utilities to further leverage their investment in the smart grid versus having to establish third-party paging networks, which are traditionally used for demand response programmes. It also provides the ability to send information directly to and receive information from the thermostat.

“By pushing relevant information to customers through UtilityPRO, utilities can empower customers to become more engaged, active participants in managing the energy grid,” said McDonough.

Utilities using Honeywell UtilityPRO to power their demand response programmes include Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Kansas City Power & Light and CPS Energy in San Antonio, Texas.

Pilot programmes for the ZigBee-enabled thermostat are currently in development.

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