San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) last week unveiled details of its planned pilot test of broadband over powerlines (BPL), a technology that enables information to be transmitted over power lines.

SDG&E plans to test the technology beginning Sept. 1, 2005, and will continue the pilot project for up to a year. The pilot will test a variety of BPL equipment in different geographic and demographic areas. The first phase of the pilot will take place in the 92123 zip code area in the San Diego neighborhood of Kearny Mesa.

“We are excited to be testing this innovative technology,” said William L. Reed, senior vice president, SDG&E. “If the technology is compatible with our electric facilities, it may pave the way for a host of utility functions that will benefit customers, including shorter outages.”

In the first phase, SDG&E will concentrate on testing the technology’s utility applications, including remote control of utility equipment; instant, accurate status reports about grid conditions; and compatibility with advanced metering infrastructure, a technology capable of automating the measurement of customer energy usage. If BPL is compatible with the SDG&E electric grid, it has the potential to enable broadband Internet service at nearly every electrical outlet.