According to RE magazine, advances in broadband over powerline technology (BPL) will make it possible for power customers to control household appliances from their computers in the near future.

In addition to lightning-fast Internet connection speeds, BPL would provide power customers greater control over their electricity usage. Joseph Lackey Sr., telecommunications supervisor at Southside Electric Cooperative, believes BPL could have the same impact on rural living that electricity had before it.

“If successful, BPL could transform life in America’s small towns, villages and farmsteads the same way electricity did 70 years ago,” Lackey said.

For the last three years, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative and South Central Indiana Rural Electric Membership have run feasibility studies on medium-voltage main lines and feeder circuits outside of single substations. Performed in conjunction with International Broadband Electric Communications, early tests revealed problems such as persistent noise interference. The co-ops attempted to address this with first-generation HomePlug repeaters, but that did not permit remote management and did not eliminate the noise problem.

“We now use second-generation DS2 regenerators instead,” said IBEC CEO Scott E. Lee. “Regenerators decode the signal and then recode it, so you’re not boosting noise. You’re sending a much cleaner signal.” EC

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