The Smart Meter Consumer Port Gains Momentum

Providing Real-Time Insights for Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings


By Larry Colton, Chairman - OSGP Alliance Standards Committee

 

The initial motivation mandating smart meter rollouts was the fact that consumers need to be aware of the energy they use, as a first step in changing consumer behavior. Some groups within the industry believed providing next day or even bi-monthly consumption data would be sufficient. Of course, instant insight of the actual consumption by day, hour, or even device provides the real information required to trigger behavior change, and this propelled the architecture of a smart meter to include a home consumer interface. However, initially the industry did not define what the interface was or how it should look. 


The Netherlands was the first country that standardized the consumer interface, and afterwards, more countries have followed them or are in the process of defining a standard for the home interface. The OSGP Alliance was involved from the early stages in the Netherlands to define a low cost, effective manner to provide the information to the consumer, now referred to as P1 (port 1) in the Netherlands. And the OSGP Alliance has continued to support efforts in other countries as well to ensure that OSGP members are able to meet the requirements of utilities throughout Europe and around the world.


OSGP compliant smart meters support the consumer interface and bring this new opportunity for DSOs (Distribution System Operator) and retailers to engage consumers. Smart meters are critical to the development of energy efficiency programs and consumer involvement. The drive for lower-carbon emissions, combined with greatly improved efficiency on the demand side, can empower consumers better than before. New features and functionalities provide advanced and detailed information that benefits both DSOs and consumers. One of these new features is the consumer interface in smart meters, which provides real-time energy information to the consumer. 


Depending on the country, this consumer interface or port in smart meters is often referred to as the HAN Interface, Consumer Port, P1 port, or H1 port. Many first generation smart meters did not support this, or if they had an interface, there was no device to conveniently connect to it. Instead, usage information was reported to the back-end system, and then presented to consumers via a customer portal website. The information was not timely. It was helpful to understand trends, but not for taking immediate action. Now, more smart meters support the consumer port (e.g. H1 port), which is a one-way interface pushing real-time consumption data out of the meter locally to the consumer owned device.


As a result of legislation, the consumer side of the meter is in general more associated with the retailer or service provider, while the DSO is the regulated provider of the distribution service. Therefore, the DSO cannot typically offer value added services. Instead, it is up to the free market to pursue, and more and more end user devices are becoming available, such as in-home displays or mobile phone apps that can communicate with the meter through the HAN interface or Consumer Port.


The H1 port in smart meters allows consumers to deploy their own terminal or in-home device for reading electricity meter data in real time. The metering data delivered from the H1 port includes consumption and production data, as well as phase-specific information for current, active power, reactive power, and voltage, and is updated every ten seconds.


OSGP (Open Smart Grid Protocol) compliant meter suppliers provide smart meters that offer this industry standard consumer interface. For example, OSGP Alliance member Networked Energy Services’ (NES) latest generation of smart meters includes an option for the industry standard H1 compliant port. This ensures that the meters are interoperable and ready for integration with consumer devices including smart building and smart home devices and associated applications. The H1 data from NES smart meters helps consumers better manage their energy use and costs, and in addition, the NES System can utilize this same H1 data to highlight trends and identify changes in the grid before they become a problem for the DSO. 


OSGP smart meters with the H1 port offer the following benefits to the customers:

 

  • Real-time Monitoring: Customers can monitor their energy consumption in real-time, enabling them to make immediate adjustments to their usage patterns to conserve energy and reduce costs.

 

  • Cost Savings: By gaining a better understanding of their energy usage, customers can identify areas where they can reduce consumption, leading to significant cost savings on their energy bills over time.

 

  • Remote Access: Some H1 port consumer devices allow consumers to access and monitor their energy usage remotely through mobile applications or online portals, providing convenience and flexibility for consumers to manage their energy consumption even when they are away from home.

 

  •  Integration with Smart Home Devices: Integration with other smart home devices allows consumers to create an interconnected and automated system that can optimize energy usage based on specific parameters or conditions, further enhancing energy efficiency and convenience.


‚ÄčIn addition to supporting the H1 port, the OSGP Alliance works with its members to support the advancement of other smart metering benefits associated with energy efficiency and consumer involvement. Besides working with its members, the OSGP Alliance continues to work with other industry organizations to ensure that OSGP compliant smart meters are able to deliver interoperable features and functionalities that support the smart energy transition and provide extensive benefits for both DSOs and consumers.