(Editor’s Note: In the linked article, from GreenTech Media, we may be seeing the next phase of the ever increasing intrusiveness of new technology)
Most of the circuit breakers out there are fairly simple, electro-mechanical devices that sit idle the vast majority of the time. But the latest versions are coming with features like wireless connectivity and computing power that are meant to turn them into something more like a smart meter or a smartphone.
Eaton and EPRI test smart circuit breakers
as virtual meters, load controllers
That’s the idea behind the field trial of Eaton’s energy management circuit breaker (EMCB). Last year, the electrical equipment giant started deploying its smart circuit breakers at about 500 homes with 12 U.S. utilities, including Duke Energy, Southern Company, CenterPoint, ComEd and Pepco. Over the next year, it will be working with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to see if they’re capable of collecting and sharing data accurately, receiving and sending controls to other smart equipment like thermostats or water heaters, and even shifting homes on and off of grid power during emergencies. More