The world is using more electricity due to the ever-increasing number of electronic devices in our homes. Electricity use of appliances such as home electronics increased 57% between 1990 and 2003. Previous solutions included creating more energy by building additional power plants and/or adopting alternate fuel sources, some of which are less than environmentally friendly, such as coal. The goal is to utilize low-cost, high result, reliable technologies for energy conservation and efficiency. Yitran Communications Ltd.’s PLC (Power Line Communication) technology is the baseline for the HPCC (HomePlug Command and Control) standard; an innovative resource that enables â€˜Green Energy’ initiatives.
In order reach their objectives, utilities and environmental commissions worldwide are moving to change the power equation with more efficient distribution and conservation strategies, as well as standards and regulations to include minimum technology requirements for the tools used to accomplish this. The US Energy Policy Act of 2005 asks electric utility regulators to consider support for a “…time-based rate schedule (to) enable the electric consumer to manage energy use and cost through advanced metering and communications technology.” An additional example is the use of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, signed into law by U.S. President George Bush just before the holidays, supports the modernization of the nation’s electricity transmission and distribution system in the form of a smart grid and the deployment of â€˜smart meters.’
A Smart Meter?
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Many consumers are becoming familiar with Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) as it is being deployed in ever-increasing numbers across the USA and worldwide. These meters are also known as â€˜smart meters’ due to their command and control abilities.
Traditional electrical meters only measured total consumption and as such provided no information of when the energy was consumed. Smart meters have two-way communication capabilities enabling utilities to retrieve accurate billing information remotely and automatically, eliminating the need for flesh-and-blood meter readers (time consuming, inefficient and costly). For consumers, the consumption analysis smart meters enables carries the added benefit of lower tariffs based on the time of day and season.
The technologies utilized for AMR have been extended to Automatic Meter Management (AMM) wherein the utility company can respond as needed such as making necessary alterations to prevent blackouts, engage in emergency load shedding, deter tampering, etc. The result is a more efficient use of utility resources be they water, gas or electricity.
HomePlug Command and Control (HPCC)
The HPCC standard offers communication means for a nearly unlimited variety of command and control applications including AMR and AMM. HPCC utilizes Power Line Communication (or a combination of PLC and wireless) for smart meters and grids as well as home automation, lighting, security and more.
HPCC is an industry power line communication standard based on Yitran Communications Ltd.’s 7.5 Kbps IT800 PHY and MAC technology. HPCC has four main areas of impact: power management solutions to conserve energy and save money; remote monitoring, automation and control for convenience through remote accessibility; safety and security features to protect from fire, theft and natural hazards; and healthcare monitoring solutions to save lives and bring peace of mind.
In simple terms, HPCC creates a command and control network in the home using the existing power lines as a means of communication (PLC). This not only offers the advantages discussed above to utility providers but also allows consumers the ability to control their home, remotely. HPCC’s energy efficient applications, such as networking thermostats in homes and demand control, remote management of high power appliances, etc. ensure a more environmentally friendly future. HPCC also provides a consumer the option to allow the utility companies a measure of control to lower your thermostat for you. The result is a more efficient use of resources as well as consumer friendly incentives such as low tariff periods, competitive pricing, more accurate billing, etc.
The HomePlug Alliance is an industry coalition comprised of business leaders from Technology to Services and Content providers. Their mission is to enable and promote rapid availability, adoption and implementation of cost effective, interoperable and standards-based home power line products. HPCC is poised to make a significant impact as â€˜Green Energy Enabled’ by providing a real, existing, robust and dependable technology to meet the needs of today and tomorrow’s energy needs.
For more information about HPCC, visit their website at www.homeplug.org.
For more information about Yitran Communications Ltd. and its products, visit www.yitran.com.