CEA Announces Modular Communications Interface Standard for Energy Management

March 01, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) ® today announced the publication of a new American National Standard, ANSI/CEA-2045, Modular Communications Interface for Energy Management. This standard specifies a modular communications interface (MCI) for energy management signals and messages exchanged among devices in a home and the smart-grid system. These devices include consumer products such as sensors, thermostats, and appliances, as well as energy-related equipment such as energy management hubs, energy management controllers and residential gateways. CEA cooperated with the public/private Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) on the development of ANSI/CEA-2045.

The MCI specifies a plug-in module that includes a wired connection between a residential device and external communications. Communication links may be provided for power line carrier (PLC) and radio (RF), depending on the home area network installed or the connection to the access network of an energy-management service provider. The MCI plug-in module may be user-installable into a consumer product marketed as smart-grid ready.

“I am very pleased by the cooperation between CEA and the SGIP in developing ANSI/CEA-2045,” said Dr. Kenneth Wacks, the chair of the CEA R7.8 MCI subcommittee that developed the standard. “Such cooperation demonstrates the commitment of CEA to the national goals of improving energy efficiency and reliability with smart grids. This standard provides consumer electronics companies and appliance manufacturers with flexibility to adapt products for smart grids by reducing the risks and costs of using proprietary communication technologies.”

“The publication of this standard for a modular communications interface demonstrates the responsiveness of the industry in advancing the goal of empowering consumers with better energy management tools and reinforces the industry’s energy efficiency efforts,” said Brian Markwalter, senior vice president of research and standards at CEA. “It benefits the smart grid market by allowing products to be manufactured with a common design and fitted with different communication capabilities as needed for regional markets.”

The standard specifies a base and an intermediate message set for demand response. The MCI is also capable of simply passing application messages from ClimateTalk, generic IP (Internet Protocol), OpenADR, SEP, and USNAP between the communications module and the end-device. The choice of message set depends on the program offered by the energy and equipment suppliers. Message sets may be added to accommodate future protocols. This standard affords manufacturers, consumers and service providers the flexibility needed to select the best solution for the local environment.