PG&E’s Smart Meter Opt-Out Plan: What’s Next?

How will PG&E’s plan to turn off smart meter radios for complaining customers — and charge them extra for service — affect its smart meter plans, and others around the country? Here’s 3 things I’m paying attention to:

Eka Scores Smart Meter Partner Landis+Gyr

The quiet workhorse of home energy management will be the wireless networks that will collect and deliver important energy usage data over the pipes. Eka Systems, a startup that builds wireless mesh technology for smart meter applications, has recently gotten some due recognition through a partnership with one of the most well-known smart meter companies around: Landis+Gyr. Eka says it has secured a deal whereby the Swiss firm will use Eka’s wireless mesh meter software and hardware in its residential smart meter system.

It’s a sizable win for the 8-year-old Eka; Landis+Gyr is a huge, century-old company that has 5,000 employees and is a forerunner in the advanced meter infrastructure market. Eka is no slouch, either. Based out of Germantown, Md., the startup has reportedly raised around $40 million in funding to date. Its most recent round, for $18.5 million, which the company announced in July, was led by Flybridge Capital Partners and including the Angeleno Group, RockPort Capital Partners, The Westly Group and Metropolitan Investment.
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HD-DVD reading and writing coming to a mobile near you

Sdl902a_hddvdToshiba is showing off a new HD-DVD drive capable of reading and writing on the new media. HD-DVDs are garnering attention for their high-definition video playback, but like Blu-Ray, the optical disk format is also perfect for storing large amounts of data; HD-DVD typically can store 15 GB per layer, which compares to a typical DVD at 4.7 GB per layer.

The new SD-L902A drive has an 8 MB buffer and is under 13 millimeters high, which makes this usable in laptops. The drive is also backwards compatible with DVD and CD formats. No word on price, but expect to see this drive available in early 2007. Considering that Microsoft’s HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 is due in at $199, I’d figure this optical drive to boost your notebook price by at least $350 or more.

Update: Engadget shows other models including an external one. Hmm….an HD-DVD movie on a 7-inch UMPC screen? Overkill, but cool. 😉