A San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) research study plans to test technology that can measure in-home electricity consumption down to the individual circuit and appliance level. The research will be supported by the Pecan Street Research Institute, a consumer energy research organization headquartered at the University of Texas at Austin.

Approximately 30-50 SDG&E customers living in the Civita master-planned development in Mission Valley will be selected to participate in the study. Civita, a Sudberry Properties development, is an SDG&E “Smart Community” project where smart grid technology is being integrated, including solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, fuel cell generation, battery storage, and enhanced energy management tools for residents.

By understanding how customers use electricity at the circuit level, SDG&E hopes to identify ways to help tailor future utility programs related to home area networks, energy efficiency and demand response. Demand response programs signal customers when to reduce usage in order to meet resource demand when the grid is reaching capacity. This new knowledge could also allow SDG&E to recommend specific measures customers can take to both reduce usage and cost.

Pecan Street will provide volunteer participants with a free website and mobile application that provides real-time information on the customer’s electricity use down to the appliance and circuit level, as well as information on appliance, rooftop solar panel, and home energy performance. The service is powered by an energy data router installed at the customer’s circuit panel.