In efforts to help customers make smart energy choices and save money, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has launched a home area network device loaner program. Customers can now borrow an in-home display device from the utility at no cost to understand their home's energy use and identify high energy use appliances with near-real time information and estimated energy costs.
The in-home display is a small digital device that, once connected to a customer's smart meter, shows how much energy a home is using, and customers can watch the kilowatt-hours and price per hour go up or down when appliances are turned on or off in the home.
In 2013, as part of efforts to provide innovative tools and solutions to help customers manage their energy use, SDG&E rolled out a list of several new in-home energy display devices available for customers to purchase and connect to their smart meters. This program is now expanded with the addition of the option for customers to borrow an in-home display for 30 days to gain a better understanding of how their home uses energy and how much it costs to run appliances in the home.
Residential customers with smart meters are eligible to participate, and participation is recommended only for customers who are able to place the device within 70 feet of their smart meter. Once the request is received, SDG&E will check the customer's account for meter compatibility and program the device to connect with the customer's meter, and mail the device to the customer with instructions.
One week before the device is due to be returned, SDG&E will send a return envelope for the customer to send it back within the 30-day loaner time period. Devices are available on a first-come, first-served basis and a wait list will be developed as needed depending on device availability.
By setting up an in-home display, SDG&E customers are able to instantly see how much energy their whole home is using. They can also determine about how much energy various appliances in their home are using, such as the dishwasher, energy-efficient TV or outdoor patio light, while watching the kilowatts and estimated cost per hour go up or down on a small digital display as the appliances are turned on or off.
Past testing of home area network technology with SDG&E customers has demonstrated effectiveness in increasing energy efficiency among customers who report they are turning off more lights, increasing air conditioning temperature, watching less TV and unplugging devices. The devices can also help customers determine if it's time to upgrade to new more energy-efficient appliances.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and 878,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility's area spans 4,100 square miles.