Back since Google PowerMeter was first announced I had been excited to try it out. Initially PowerMeter was only available from Utility providers that had partnered with Google. Unfortunately the energy provider we use in our California office was not one of these and we started to consider switching just so that we could take PowerMeter for a spin. Then Google announced that the PowerMeter service would become available to those who use select energy monitoring devices, the first being the TED 5000. Great, I ordered one of these immediately, but too quickly to even read the small print which says that the TED 5000 will only work with 2-phase power supplies. Inevitably, when I checked ours I found it is a 3-phase system and thus incompatible. Of course, all of this only served to increase my anticipation.
So, when UK company AlertMe was announced as the second device partner, I finally got my chance to try out the elusive service. AlertMe’s energy monitoring gadget is designed to monitor in real-time how much electricity you are using. The system comes in two parts, the first being the ‘Meter Reader and Transmitter’. This consists of a clip that attaches around your main electricity line. Not an electrical connection though, it simply sits outside the wire’s shielding. The clip is connected to a transmitter which will send the meter readings wirelessly to the second part of the system, the ‘Nano Hub’. This gadget will receive these meter readings and via an ethernet cable will send your energy data over the web for you to access 24/7 from anywhere.
In addition to allowing you access to Google PowerMeter, AlertMe also provide their own dashboard to view your data, which is very functional. Below you can see the initial snapshot view of whats going on. You can see clearly your current electricity draw and a calculation of what it has cost you so far for the day. Your personal cost per KWHr and currency is fully customizable. The history feature is also quite detailed, you can view a graph of energy use for anywhere from one day to an entire year. It can also be downloaded as a spreadsheet (csv). Data is updated every 5 minutes so you can get a very detailed break down of your energy usage habits. For example, you can clearly see peaks in the graph when your heating kicks in or when you put the kettle on for your morning cup of coffee. (more…)