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Schneider Unveils Wiser Energy Management System

Schneider targets utilities with new residential demand response display/control and thermostat, but says there is still a role for integrators.


Schneider's Wiser Energy Management System consists of a small display, a thermostat and a load control device aimed at cutting homeowners' energy usage.
Jason Knott · February 2, 2011

Schneider Electric has entered the smart grid fray with its new Wiser Energy Management System, a demand management product that allows homeowners to reduce or shift energy use during peak times.

The Wiser Energy Management System has basically three parts:
Wiser Smart Thermostat: Programmable thermostat that communicates usage and pricing alerts via changing color screens. It communicates via ZigBee and is controllable by the In-Home Display and the Wiser web-based software and a smart phone application, in the future.

Wiser In-Home Display: A small (3.75 x 3.625 x 1.25 inches; the screen is 2.75 x 1.625 inches) hardkey/dial controller and dashboard serve as the real-time communication portal from the smart meter to the homeowner. Consumers can view current energy price, demand level and use, current energy cost per hour as well as daily, weekly and yearly energy-use reports.

Wiser Load Control: This device secures and manages large electrical loads to enable demand management by both the utility and the consumer. It also supports Demand Response/Load Control (DRLC) and simple timer functions. It can be used for remote monitoring and management of HVAC compressors, water heaters, pool pumps and other power circuits. Relays for 30A and 4A are also available for devices that require less load.

Other components in the system are an Internet Gateway and a Smart Plug to monitor the electrical usage of small appliances, like coffee makers. Integrators can use a web portal to set up the system limits for customers. Post-installation, homeowners can manage and view real-time energy output to control their energy consumption.

The system is allows homeowners to view electricity costs based on demand (how much energy is being used by consumers within the utility’s area) and usage (how much energy the homeowner is using).  Consumers can then actively set appliances to turn on at certain times when power costs less, set limits for the household on power usage or costs, etc.

imageThe small display/dashboard allows homeowners to view current energy price, demand level and use, current energy cost per hour as well as daily, weekly and yearly energy-use reports.

Role for Integrators?
Schneider, which owns several brands familiar to integrators including APC, Clipsal, SquareD and Juno Lighting, is initially targeting the Wiser system at utilities. According to Tony Gentile, vice president, installation systems and control at Schneider, the company is in the midst of several pilot programs.

But he says there is an opportunity for integrators to install the system in new homes prior to the utility’s smart meter conversion takes place.

“The system is totally flexible,” he says. “Utilities can install it as part of a smart meter program, integrators can install it, or consumers can get it later. Residential energy management has a high-growth potential, according to Gentile, adding that energy demand in the U.S. is expected to double by 2050 from its current rate.

imageThe programmable thermostat that communicates usage and pricing alerts via changing color screens. Green means you are doing good saving energy; red means not so good.

Gentile also believes down the road that homeowners will not want a dedicated display just for energy usage, and that will lead to incorporating energy usage into fully integrated systems. Lighting control and shade control will soon be incorporated into the system, he adds. The system is available at the end of Q1.

“The residential electric market accounts for approximately 21 percent of total electric usage globally,” says Don Rickey, senior vice president, Energy Business, Schneider Electric. “There is a huge need for active energy management by consumers, and it does not have to be a complex process.

“With this system, we are addressing the energy needs of multiple stakeholders along the grid - enabling utilities to improve service and providing consumers with the ability to gain greater insight and control of their energy use to improve efficiency, comfort and reliability of energy in the home.”



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  About the Author

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at jason.knott@emeraldexpo.com

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News · Energy Management · Schneider Electric · Smart Grid · All Topics
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