The U-SNAP Alliance and the Electric Power Research Institute announced today at Grid-Interop 2009 an agreement that will allow the sharing of EPRI research and U-SNAP specifications in an effort to identify a standard communication interface for smart appliances.
Both organizations believe it is in the public's best interest to have a standard physical interface that allows smart appliances and consumer products to accept a variety of user-installable communication devices. Such an interface should provide manufacturers a way to avoid obsolescence from new communication technologies, and utilities with multiple options for communicating with customer devices.
EPRI is conducting a study to identify the uses and requirements for an appliance interface. The U-SNAP Alliance has defined a low cost physical interface currently used in consumer products, such as thermostats, suitable for use in smart appliances as well.
"Achieving the full potential of a Smart Grid requires the ability to communicate with many household appliances," said Brian Seal, senior project manager at EPRI's Power Delivery & Utilization sector. "This will enable consumers to manage their utility bills by operating their appliances when the price of energy is low. The U-SNAP specification will be an interesting consideration of our study and any outcome will need vibrant user organizations like U-SNAP to carry the work forward."
The agreement will enable EPRI to evaluate the U-SNAP specification during the course of the study and will allow the U-SNAP Alliance access to the project discussion and findings.
"As an active proponent of standards, EPRI facilitated development of the initial National Institute of Standards and Technology Smart Grid Roadmap report," said Jon Rappaport, chairman of the U-SNAP Alliance. "Collaborating with EPRI will give us another means through which to identify industry needs as we continue to refine the U-SNAP interface for demand response and energy management applications."