Home and Business Area Networking - Frequently Asked Questions

About Home and Business Area Networking

 

What is a Home and Business Area Network (HAN)?

A home and business area network connects the various digital devices within a home or business. PG&E provides customers the ability to wirelessly connect a ZigBee Smart Energy Profile (SEP) device to their electric SmartMeter™ to see their near-real-time energy usage information. A range of devices that can use or display this information in various ways are available, allowing customers to see, monitor, and control their energy usage.

How Do Home and Business Area Networks Work?

The electric SmartMeter™ has two radios. The first relays your consumption and meter status back to PG&E to help them deliver your energy reliably and efficiently. The second radio is for HAN, and is turned off by default. When you sign up and activate this second radio, the SmartMeter™ takes the electricity usage information it already gathers and makes it available to your HAN-compatible device securely, and in real-time. Your device requires that meter information to show you how much electricity you’re using.

What are the benefits of registering a HAN device?

  • View the rate at which your home uses electricity.
  • View historical real-time energy use – helping you evaluate what events cause spikes in your consumption.
  • Help identify the biggest electricity draws on your home - many HAN devices make it easy to identify the appliances that use the most energy, allowing you to determine if or when to use the appliance, and whether to upgrade to a more energy efficient alternative. This can help lower energy use as well as reduce your bill each month.

Device Eligibility

 

Is there a process to validate whether a certain HAN device is compatible with PG&E's SmartMeters™?

PG&E has worked with device manufacturers and service providers to establish a process through which independent third-party labs can provide validatation of HAN devices for use with customers' Home and Business Area Networks. Validation under this process means 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 validation does not mean that the devices meet their manufacturers' claims regarding other functionality beyond connectivity – you are responsible for verifying this functionality with the device manufacturer or service provider.

Other devices that have not been through the validation process may also 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 customers should be aware that such devices have not been validated and may not be able to connect with PG&E's system.

What type of devices work with SmartMeters™?

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.

Customer Eligibility

 

How do I sign up?

  • Log into your My Energy account and visit the HAN Dashboard. Eligible smart meters will appear in the Electric SmartMeter™ table at the bottom of the page. Click the "+" icon to expand the table and see HAN-compatible meters.
  • Once you have confirmed there is an eligible smart meter on your premise, purchase a device to connect to the meter to access your energy usage data.
  • For more information on where to purchase HAN devices, please go to What types of devices work with SmartMeters™?

What factors determine my eligibility to participate in HAN?

In order to be eligible for HAN, customers must:

  • Have an active PG&E service account
  • Be a residential or small and medium business customer on an eligible rate.
  • Have an eligible electric SmartMeter™ that has been tested for HAN compatibility
  • Have a strong meter network connection

HAN is currently designed to serve residential and small to medium business customers, though PG&E is working hard to expand access to HAN. If no eligible meter is listed on your HAN Dashboard yet, please sign up for HAN alerts and we will contact you as soon as it is available. Due to compatibility issues with functionality in certain meter models, a meter change may be required in order to take advantage of HAN. This meter upgrade can be done at no cost.

Are solar customers eligible to participate in HAN?

In order to participate, most residential solar customers will need to have their meter upgraded at no charge. If you are a solar customer and would like additional information about how to enroll, please contact HAN customer support at 1-877-743-4357, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.

What can I do if no eligible meters are listed on my HAN Dashboard?

We're working hard to expand access to HAN to more customers every day, but not all smart meters and customer types are HAN compatible at this time. Small and medium business customers with kV2c meters need to take some additional steps in order to enable the meter for HAN. To find out if you have a kV2c SmartMeter™, or if you have additional questions about eligibility, please contact HAN Customer Support with your name, account number, and the address where you wish to activate HAN. We'll do our best to get you up and running. You can email HAN customer support at HelpingHAN@pge.com, or call us at 1-877-743-4357, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

What PG&E rates are eligible to participate in HAN?

HAN is currently designed to serve residential and small to medium business customers (under 200kWh), so rates serving those customers are eligible. Rates serving large industrial/commercial or agricultural rates (E19, E20, AG4, AG5, A10, AG1) are not eligible.

The find your current rate, please log into your MyEnergy account and navigate to My Usage -> My Rates or email HAN Customer Support at HelpingHAN@pge.com or call 1-877-743-4357, Monday - Friday 8 a.m-7:00 p.m.

What factors may increase or decrease my chances of successfully connecting a device to my SmartMeter™?

Certain factors may impact your ability to connect a device to the meter:

  • Your HAN device should be located within 75 feet of the meter at your premise.
  • Make sure your device is powered on and in pairing mode, if necessary (review the device manual for instructions on how to connect it to a meter).
  • Enter the MAC address and install code carefully to make sure they're correct. If you made a mistake, please call customer service (details below) for help.
  • Certain types of wireless electronic devices operating on the same channel as your ZigBee meter (e.g. Wi-Fi router, microwave, baby monitor, cordless phone, etc) may interfere with the connection to your device.
  • Signal interference caused by some home construction materials or other obstacles may impact the connection between the meter and your device.

View a list of HAN devices that have been validated to work with the SmartMeter™.

For more information or help connecting a device, please email HAN Customer Support at HelpingHAN@pge.com or call 1-877-743-4357, Mon-Fri 8 a.m-7 p.m.

Am I seeing up-to-the-minute electricity consumption on my 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.

Is my bill guaranteed to go down because I connect a HAN device to my SmartMeter™?

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.

Why isn't my pricing the same as what I see in My Energy on pge.com or on my bill?

PG&E does not currently provide pricing information via HAN. 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.

Device Registration

 

How do I purchase a device?

PG&E does not provide devices directly to customers. There are different types of devices depending on the functionality and experience that is important to you. PG&E has implemented a process for HAN devices to undergo third-party lab validation for compatibility with a PG&E SmartMeter™ in order to provide customers with their near real-time energy use. The list of validated devices is not comprehensive; other devices may be compatible on PG&E's network, and customers can attempt to register any ZigBee SEP1.0 or 1.1 device with the meter at their premise. However, PG&E cannot provide any guarantee that devices not included on PG&E's list of validated devices are compatible.

Validated devices can be purchased from many online and brick-and-mortar retailers, as well as directly from manufacturers (for more information, see What types of devices work with SmartMeters™?).

Where do I find the device MAC address?

MAC Address / EUI is a 16-character string of numbers and letters unique to each device. This is usually found on the device packaging, labeling, or sometimes in the device menu options. When entering this, please check carefully for numbers and letters that look similar, such as zero and O, and enter it correctly. Please note that entering the MAC address is not case sensitive. If you think you have entered it incorrectly, you must call customer support to correct it. Our team can be reached at 1-877-743-4357, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Where is the install code?

The Install Code is a sequence of numbers and letters unique to each device. It is usually found on the device packaging, labeling, but sometimes in device menu options. Note that some devices also have an IC code, which is NOT the install code. When entering it, please check carefully for numbers and letters that look similar, such as zero and O, and enter it correctly. If you think you have entered it incorrectly, you must call customer support to correct it. Our team can be reached at 1-877-743-4357, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Connecting a Device to the SmartMeter™

 

How does the join process work?

The 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 HAN, and is turned off by default. When you sign up and activate this second radio, the SmartMeter™ takes the electricity usage information it already gathers and makes it available to your HAN-compatible device securely, and in real-time. Your device requires that meter information to show you how much electricity you're using.

Clicking 'Start' in the countdown window activates the second radio and allows the HAN device to "join" or "pair" to the meter. This process takes approximately 10 minutes, but can sometimes take up to four tries. If you're having trouble connecting your device to the meter, please see the connection hints below. If after four tries you are still unable to join your device to the meter, please email HAN Customer Support at HelpingHAN@pge.com or call 1-877-743-4357, Mon-Fri 8 a.m-7 p.m.

Can I use my device with multiple SmartMeters™?

No. Your device only works 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 the meter on your premise. Once you have unpaired the device from the meter, the device can then be joined to another meter.

Can I connect additional devices to the SmartMeter™?

Yes. You can connect up to 20 devices to the SmartMeter™, although PG&E recommends using an intermediary device, such as a Gateway (for more information, see What types of devices work with my SmartMeter™?), if you intend to connect more than three devices to the SmartMeter™.

How do I remove a device from my SmartMeter™?

To disconnect your device from the SmartMeter™, please call PG&E at 1-877-743-4357, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Privacy and Security

 

Is this secure?

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).

Can I share my energy information I obtain from my SmartMeter™ with third parties?

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.

Troubleshooting

 

Certain factors may impact your ability to connect a device to the SmartMeter™. Here are helpful hints:

  • Your HAN device should be located within 75 feet of the SmartMeter™.
  • Make sure your device is powered on and in pairing mode, if necessary (review the device manual for instructions on how to connect it to a meter).
  • Enter the MAC address and install code carefully to make sure they're correct. If you made a mistake, please call customer service (details below) for help.
  • 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.) may interfere with the connection to your device.
  • Signal interference caused by some home construction materials or other obstacles between the SmartMeter™ may impact the connection to your device.
  • View a list of HAN devices here that have been validated to work with the SmartMeter™.

For more information or help connecting a device, please email HAN Customer Support at HelpingHAN@pge.com or call 1-877-743-4357, Mon-Fri 8 a.m-7 p.m.

There is a system error saying I need to try again in 10 minutes. Why?

Only a certain number of HAN devices can join the system at the same time. This error means that number has been reached, so please wait 10 minutes and try again.

My device isn't reporting usage at the moment. What's happening?

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.

Please contact PG&E HAN Customer Support for help troubleshooting issues related to the SmartMeter™ and the HAN radio. Our team can be reached at HelpingHAN@pge.com or by calling 1-877-743-4357, Mon-Fri 8 a.m-7 p.m. For device specific issues, please contact your device vendor.

What's the difference between a kilowatt (kW) and a kilowatt-hour (kWh)?

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).

Customer Service

 

Whom can I contact with questions about Home and Business Area Networking?

For specific HAN-related questions, email HelpingHAN@pge.com or call 1-877-743-4357, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–7 p.m.

HAN Device Troubleshooting

Call: 1-877-743-4357
Between the Hours
Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Or
Email HelpingHAN@pge.com
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