California ‘Smart Home Study’ Underway

The California Energy Commission (CEC) is funding a study that it hopes will result in lower utility bills for customers and more control over electricity load for utilities. The project will involve 100 homeowners in Southern California who will install various types of distributed energy resources (DER) such as thermostats, load control switches, batteries, water heaters and eventually electric vehicle chargers.

Alternative Energy Systems Consulting (AESC) was awarded a grant from the CEC to conduct the study and Itron announced this week that it will be providing its IntelliSOURCE Enterprise Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) to communicate with DER, allowing the utility to control loads with a combination of software, hardware and services.

Aiming to alleviate problematic load shapes and volatility, the Smart Home Study is designed to show customers, utilities and energy service companies how to optimize operation of DERs.

As the electricity grid changes, an increasing number of customers are installing DER, which can include batteries, electric vehicles and solar panels. These resources give customers more control over their energy usage, but also impact the utility grid. To help customers utilize and better understand their energy control potential, the Smart Home Study aims to minimize the negative aspects of DER for utilities while still realizing the benefits of these transformative technologies.

“This project takes a unique approach to energy management that provides a win for both customers and utilities. Providing significant savings to users without impacting comfort and convenience, the project will stabilize demand on the grid, nullify negative effects of DERs and still integrate more renewable energy sources into the grid,” said Steve Hambric, vice president of distributed energy management, Itron.

Distributed Energy Resource Management and Control is a track at the upcoming DistribuTECH, set to hit New Orleans, February 5-7, 2019.
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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at

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