Local Tech Wire

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) are teaming up to pilot test and further develop a home energy management system that will utilize smart grid technology.

Financial terms for the project were not described.

Duke and Cisco will pilot test Cisco’s Home Energy Management Solution in Charlotte and Cincinnati where digital smart grid technology, such as smart meters, have been installed.

Cisco announced its energy product Tuesday at a conference in Las Vegas. ()

According to Cisco, the system includes:

• The Home Energy Controller (HEC) which is a countertop display that “helps the consumer make more informed choices, as well as set policies and schedules for energy use, based on real-time household, historic and individual appliance consumption.”

• The device includes an LCD touch screen that enables “the consumer has insight into and control over peripheral devices that communicate with the HEC, such as thermostats, intelligent sockets and, ultimately, smart appliances like refrigerators and water heaters.”

• The HEC also “coordinates the variety of networks in the home and supports associated networking protocols, such as ZigBee, Wi-Fi and Encoder Receiver Technology (ERT).”

• Cisco says that utilities using the Home Energy Management Solution “will be able to extend the benefits of their Smart Meter deployments by providing home owners with more detailed energy control and management, down to the appliance level. Customers and utilities can coordinate on new pricing and demand-side management services, enabling home automation for energy management.”

The pilot program will last one year and feedback from customers will be used to incorporate additional functionality, Duke Energy said in a statement.

“Home energy management functionality is an important step in providing customers with an enhanced energy experience that is simply not achievable with today’s analog grid,” said Gianna Manes, Duke Energy’s senior vice president and chief customer officer, in the announcement.

“Customers want to save money on their energy bills, but it has to be easy,” manes added. “With Cisco’s proven expertise in Internet Protocol-based, open system networks, we’re confident our collaboration with them will result in a solution that provides customers back-of-mind simplicity and real back pocket rewards.”

The companies also plan to incorporate appliance manufacturers in the program.

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