Home and Business Area Networking - Frequently Asked Questions
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About Home and Business Area Networking
Your SmartMeter™ has two radios. The first relays your consumption and meter status back to PG&E to help us deliver your energy reliably and efficiently. The second radio is for Home and Business Area Networking, and is turned off by default. When you sign up and activate this second radio, your SmartMeter™ can take the electricity use information it already gathers and make it available to your selected compatible device securely, and in real-time. Your device depends on that information to show you how much electricity you’re using.
How is PG&E working with device manufacturers to determine if their devices are compatible with PG&E's SmartMeters™?
PG&E has worked with device manufacturers and service providers to validate a set of HAN devices for use with our customers’ Home and Business Area Networks. PG&E has validated that this set of HAN devices:
- Can connect and communicate with a PG&E SmartMeter™
- Have been certified and adhere to the ZigBee Smart Energy Profile specification (1.x)
- Can sell their device directly to consumers or through third parties
- Offer customer support for their device
- Provide adequate documentation and installation support
The current list of PG&E validated HAN devices, is available here:
Please note that PG&E has NOT validated that the devices meet their manufacturers’ claims regarding other functionality beyond connectivity – you are responsible for determining this functionality with the device manufacturer or service provider.
Other devices may be compatible on PG&E’s network. Customers can attempt to register any ZigBee SEP 1.0 or 1.1 device with their SmartMeter™, but PG&E cannot provide any guarantee that devices not included on PG&E’s list of validated devices are compatible.
To successfully connect with the PG&E SmartMeter™, your device must support ZigBee communications and be Smart Energy Profile 1.0 or 1.1 certified. These devices include:
- In-home Displays (IHDs) or Energy Information Displays, which show your real-time energy use on a display
- Gateways which connect your SmartMeter™to the Internet to help you access your real-time energy via a web browser, smart phone, or other connected device.
- Smart Programmable Controllable Thermostats (PCTs), which are thermostats that can also receive the near real time energy usage information from the SmartMeter™.
- Repeaters or Range Extenders, which help boost the strength of your home and business area network and help your devices span the distance to your SmartMeter™ or from one device to another.
Examples of other devices include:
- USB Dongle, which is similar to a “flash drive” except a ZigBee enabled device can communicate wirelessly with other devices. You can connect a USB dongle with your PC or an internet connection to view energy usage.
- Smart Plugs, which allow you to monitor (and control) the power consumption of an individual appliance.
- Load Control Switches, which help you automatically turn on and off high-power consuming devices such as pool pumps.
- Smart Appliances, which can receive energy information and take preset actions to adjust your energy usage.
Note that actual device capabilities will vary depending on the manufacturer and model.
On January 15, 2013, PG&E will begin accepting requests from customers to opt-in to activating the Home or Business Area Networking capabilities of their SmartMeter™. The process to access HAN is as follows:
Fill out our online form to check your HAN eligibility
- PG&E will process your information and respond back to you via email. If you are determined eligible to participate in HAN, the next step is to purchase and register your HAN device with PG&E. You will receive two links in your eligibility confirmation email:
- PG&E's list of Validated Devices:
- A link to register your HAN device with PG&E
- Once you have confirmed your eligibility and registered your HAN device with PG&E, the final step is to call HAN Customer Support to pair your new HAN device with your SmartMeter™ and start monitoring your energy use in near-real-time.
PG&E is still scaling up our Home and Business Area Networking capabilities. At this time, we do not recommend enabling the second radio for some of our customers. We are working hard to continue to improve the Home and Business Area Network experience for all our customers.
In order to be eligible for HAN, customers must have:
- An Active Service Account
- An eligible electric SmartMeter™ that has been tested for HAN compatibility
- A strong meter network connection
A customer service representative from PG&E will contact you regarding your eligibility status within 5 business days of receiving your eligibility request and help get the enrollment process started. If we determine you’re not eligible for HAN yet, please sign up for HAN alerts and we will let you know as soon as it is available to you.
Due to performance issues with certain meter models, a meter change may be required. A customer service representative from PG&E will notify you whether a meter change needs to be scheduled.
What factors may increase or decrease my chances of successfully connecting a device to my SmartMeter™?
Even if we determine you are eligible to participate in HAN, certain factors may impact your ability to successfully connect a device to your SmartMeter™. These can include the following:
- Your HAN device should be located within 75 feet of your SmartMeter™
- You may experience interference from certain types of wireless electronic devices operating on the same channel as your ZigBee SmartMeter™ (e.g. Wi-Fi router, microwave, baby monitor, cordless phone, etc)
- Signal interference caused by some home construction materials or other obstacles between your SmartMeter™ and your device.
The information you see is “near-real-time.” There’s 15-60 second delay, dependent upon your device and/or SmartMeter™, in communicating your actual electricity use to your device.
No. Using a device will provide a tool to help you understand and monitor your electricity usage but it does not guarantee that you will experience lower bills. Lowering your energy bill depends on the behavior changes you and your household take to save on energy.
PG&E does not currently provide pricing information via the Home and Business Area Network interface. If you see a price displayed via your device or interface, then that price is provided by the manufacturer/service provider, and may differ from your actual energy cost or bill.
PG&E is not providing devices directly to our customers. However, you can purchase a validated device from many online and brick-and-mortar retailers, as well as the manufacturers themselves (for more information, reference What types of devices work with my meter?). Before purchasing a device, PG&E strongly recommends you check to make sure you are eligible to participate (for more information, reference How do I sign up?). PG&E will publish a list of validated devices in early January 2013.
If you are determined eligible to participate in HAN, the next step is to purchase and register your HAN device with PG&E. You will receive two links in your eligibility confirmation email:
PG&E's list of Validated Devices:
A link to register your HAN device with PG&E
Once you have confirmed your eligibility and registered your HAN device with PG&E, the final step is to call HAN Customer Support to pair your new HAN device with your SmartMeter™ and start monitoring your energy use in near-real-time.
If you have lost or misplaced your HAN eligibility code, please contact HAN customer support at 1-877-743-4357 Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
No. Your device can only work with one meter at a time. For instance, if you’d like to give your device to a friend, then you must first call customer service to unpair your device from your meter. Once you have unpaired the device from your meter, the device can then join to your friend’s meter.
Yes. You can connect up to 20 devices to your SmartMeter™, although PG&E recommends using an intermediary device, such as a Gateway (for more information, reference What types of devices work with my SmartMeter™?), if you intend to connect more than three devices to your SmartMeter™.
If you want to remove your device from your SmartMeter™, please call PG&E for technical assistance at 1-877-743-4357 Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Privacy and Security
The HAN radio signal is broadcast on a securely encrypted, 2.4GHz ZigBee Smart Energy 1.0 standards-based wireless channel. ZigBee incorporates PKI certificates using Certicom Elliptic Curve Qu Vanstone (ECQV) technology, which helps uniquely identify each device at the time it joins the Home or Business Area network, and allows devices and the meter to securely authenticate when communicating with each other. Only devices that have been securely authenticated and paired with your SmartMeter™ can access your real-time energy data. In addition, like a Wi-Fi network, your device is only accessible within the localized area around your SmartMeter™ (typically up to 75 feet).
PG&E safeguards the information to the SmartMeter™. Once the customer connects a device to the SmartMeter™, this data becomes the customer’s data and the customer may share this information with third parties of their choice. However, you are responsible for safeguarding the personal information you share with third parties.
Occasionally, a device will lose connectivity to the SmartMeter™. The device will attempt to reconnect. If the connection is re-established, you will see your electricity consumption information as you normally do. If the device is unable to reconnect, please try the following activities before calling for technical assistance:
- Ensure that the device is plugged in, and for devices with a display, check that the device does not have a screen saver enabled (refer to your individual device’s instructions for specific instructions on how to do this).
- If the device is on but has no data, and the device has been moved from where it was originally installed, move the device back to its original location. If that does not help, try moving the device to a location closer to the SmartMeter™ (at least within 75 feet). The device should attempt to reconnect to the SmartMeter™ automatically.
PG&E will troubleshoot issues related to your SmartMeter™ and the Home and Business Area Network radio. For device specific issues, contact your device vendor. If you are experiencing issues with your HAN, please call PG&E for technical assistance at 1-877-743-4357 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
A kW is a unit of power—in other words, the rate at which energy is used or generated. A kWh is a unit of energy equivalent to 1,000 watt hours, and it’s a common unit of measure utilities use for billing electric energy.
As an analogy, if you were to fill a bucket with water from a hose, the rate at which the water flows from the hose into the bucket would represent a kW (power), while the total amount of water in the bucket when finished would represent the kWh (energy).
To estimate how much energy an appliance uses each day—and what that appliance may cost to operate each month—follow these simple steps:
- Find the appliance’s rated wattage (as listed on its nameplate) and then divide that number by 1,000 to calculate the kW.
- Multiply the kW by the estimated number of hours per day the appliance operates to get kWh per day.
- To estimate monthly usage, multiply the daily kWh by the number of days in the month.
- To estimate the monthly cost of operating an appliance, multiply the “monthly” kWh usage by the average rate you pay (see last month’s bill to determine this).
For specific HAN-related questions, call 1-877-743-4357 Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m., or email: HelpingHAN@pge.com.
For general PG&E questions, call 1-800-743-5000.
HAN Device Troubleshooting
Between the Hours
Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.