USNAP Alliance to Provide Certification and Interoperability Testing for New Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Modular Communication Interface Standard

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 1, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the USNAP Alliance announced that it is implementing a testing and certification program for products implementing the ANSI/CEA-2045 Modular Communication Interface (MCI) Standard from the Consumer Electronics Association. This standard – developed by CEA, the USNAP Alliance and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) - defines a port/plug that enables Smart Grid "ready" consumer products to be compatible with any home energy management or utility demand response system, through customer-installable plug-in communication modules.

"With this new standard, consumers will benefit from Smart Grid 'ready' products that can be used anywhere," said Chris Kotting, executive director of the USNAP Alliance. "Manufacturers can build standardized products capable of working in any utility or service provider territory and utilities benefit because the specification reduces the risk of stranded assets in the field. In addition, it's inexpensive to create these products and one product design can be sold broadly because it is compatible with DR and energy management communication systems, independent of the communication technology or architecture."

Addressing a significant gap in the Smart Grid, this new standard identifies the interface between a Universal Communications Module (UCM) and a Smart Grid Device (SGD) and provides a unifying technology that enables a broad range of consumer products to respond to energy information and DR events. Key benefits include:

• Off-the-shelf residential devices can be compatible with various demand response programs, including OpenADR, Smart Energy Profile, pager, FM, AMI or a proprietary interface.

• Consumer products can also connect to a Home Area Network (HAN), Local Area Network (LAN) or home automation network based on wireless standards (ZigBee, Z-Wave, EnOcean), power line carrier (PLC) standards (HomePlug, LonWorks, or wired standards (ClimateTalk or Ethernet).

• Consumer purchases could be decoupled from the local utility's technology choices, so a consumer that is relocating can take their appliances with them, and they will be compatible with other programs wherever they go.

• Utilities may select and evolve their communication systems and DR program characteristics over time without impacting the consumer's products.

• Appliance service can last for 20 to 30 years without risk of obsolescence due to evolving communication systems.

• A single communication module may work on multiple end devices.

• No electrician or utility service calls are required to add a new device to a program.

USNAP Alliance is now developing a testing and certification program to verify that products built to the standard are compliant and interoperable. The Alliance hopes to have the certification program completed before the end of this year.

About USNAP Alliance

The USNAP Alliance is an open industry association providing testing and certification programs for the ANSI/CEA-2045 Modular Communication Interface standard. Alliance membership is comprised of utilities, manufacturers, consultants and other parties interested in developing or deploying the standard. For more information, or to find out how to join the Alliance, please visit

CONTACT: Chris Kotting Executive Director, USNAP Alliance 614-657-6483 Barry Haaser Administrator, USNAP Alliance 408-778-8370 Rolf Bienert Technical Director, USNAP Alliance 925 336 0239 rolf@usnap.orgSource:USNAP Alliance