Home power use monitoring
Home energy meters measure energy use and power cost at the household level.
Almost all these monitors use an inductive sensor designed to monitor the mains wire where it enters your existing electricity company supplied meter. The sensor does not penetrate the wire or make any direct electrical connection to the mains. The sensor is usually placed in the meter box very close to the mains supply. Non-wireless meters must be located close to the sensor. If a monitor has wireless capability the display can be located some distance from the sensor. In both cases no electrical wiring is required to complete the installation.
Accuracy attained by these meters is more than enough for household efficiency monitoring and taking best advantage of variable tariffs.
Optionally - these meters can be used to monitor just one circuit within the house by placing the sensor on just that circuit. For example - a single lighting circuit or a single power circuit. Additionally - many meters are capable of monitoring more than one sensor channel at the same time. This is usually done by placing each sensor on the desired circuit within the fusebox/breaker box/switchboard. Please note that NZ electrical regulations do not allow homeowners to enter the fusebox/breaker box/switchboard enclosure.
The Current Cost range is available in NZ from smartnow.co.nz (blog). An inductive sensor gathers power use information without needing a direct connection to the mains. Current Cost devices can be integrated with online power use monitoring portals by uploading data from an internet connected computer. Optionally, a network bridge device is available which allows the device to upload data directly to the internet without requiring a connection to a computer. Current Cost Network Bridge users can monitor energy use online at my.currentcost.com, or mobile users at my.currentcost.com/m.
Some Current Cost devices have an option to add Individual Appliance Monitor (IAM) modules for detailed information on specific appliances within the home. Up to nine IAM modules may be added to each Current Cost device.
The Envi / Envi-R and Trec devices support up to 10 different monitoring channels. Sensors are compatible. These models can be used simultaneously to monitor and analyse the same sensor network.
Additionally, an optical sensor is available which can directly read usage information from most recent utility meters. SmartNow state: "The EnviR can provide 100% accurate billing information if you have a pulse meter and using the forthcoming Optical Readers". The OptiSmart module is available in the UK and currently in evaluation for Australia and NZ. Current Cost have published a list of compatible and non-compatible smart meter types. Water and gas monitoring sensors for the Envi-R are being developed by Current Cost. Independent developers have completed hobby projects integrating current cost with water and gas sensors. In addition, the OptiSmart module has been used independently as a pulse counter sender for water and gas monitoring projects. More information in this short developers guide.
Current Cost have released interface and communication specifications for the device. An independent software development community is active (example) and makes available free, opensource, and proprietary software for the device. Current Cost lists a small selection of software available for the device. Much more is provided independently. Current Cost also provide digital and analog sensor development boards. Development boards provide the radio interface for 3rd party sensor hardware.
Current Cost write a technical blog with recent research and developments.
EcoMind - By Schnieder Electric / Clipsal
Ecomind wireless display with mains powered or battery powered sensor options. Displays instant, average and historical electricity usage - hourly, weekly, daily, monthly.
Additional PC software graphs usage over time, sets and tracks electricity targets and compares different tariffs. Reports in Excel and PDF format.
Efergy One, Two, Elite, and Elite2 meters. Also a shower water/power usage meter.
USB to PC download, Up to 4 tariffs. Custom voltage set. Carbon tracking. Peak usage alarm. 24 months history.
(offline sales) lists the E2
GridSpy / Nexus
Sensors communicate with a network bridge ('Nexus GridHub') which requires a standard Ethernet path to the Internet. Status information updated each second. A constant network connection is not required. The Nexus will store information until a network connection is available. The system consumes less than 1W. Lifetime warranty on the hardware.
The Nexus GridHub base system is available with three wired sensors. Water flow, water level, and temperature sensors can be added if required. Wireless sensors are also available. Engineers are available to customise the system to your requirements where needed. The GridSpy system is based on many years experience developing industrial electronics and is suitable for integration into building energy management systems. Gridspy architecture includes robust recovery mechanisms and updatable firmware.
Designed and developed in NZ based by GridSpy.
Owl family (aka Cent-a-meter)
The original Owl was designed and developed in NZ. Owl now provides an extended family of wireless energy monitoring solutions:
Owl +Micro: Dual tariff and block tariff accounting. Daily consumption chart, usage alarm function, history, CO2 conversion.
Owl +USB: Stores up to 30 days worth of data. USB download to PC for data analysis.
Network Owl: Kit to allow the solutions above to automatically log data into Owl's Intuition Cloud for viewing and analysis anywhere with an Internet connection.
Owl Intuition-LC: 3-phase or three feed monitoring for light commercial applications. Automatically logs data to Owl's Intuition Cloud for viewing and analysis anywhere with an Internet connection.
Owl Intuition-E: Single phase version of above.
Watts Clever Wireless Energy Monitor
The Watts Clever Wireless Energy Monitor EW4002 is offered by Jaycar. Stores up to four years worth of data. Meter data can be downloaded and analysed on a PC. Detailed information on the Watts Clever product page. Identical to the Current Cost Classic. Watts Clever product support page states: "The Watts Clever 4002 is sold exclusivity [sic] in Australia under license from Current Cost limited. For information on software downloads for the Watts Clever 4002 monitor and drivers for the supplied prolific USB serial cable please visit http://www.currentcost.com/software-downloads.html".
Watts Clever Wireless Energy Monitor for Smart Meters
Watts Clever Compact Wireless Energy Monitor
Watts Clever Compact Wireless Energy Monitor EW4005. Simple and cheap wireless sensor household energy monitor. Single tariff only. 50 meter wireless range to sensor. Sold in NZ by Jaycar. Detailed information on the Watts Clever product page.
Watts Clever Wireless Energy Monitor for Smart Meters
Model EW4030. Wireless transmitter detects optical output of smart meter and sends power use information to a display up to 30 meters away. Three tariffs and an alarm function for high usage.
At this time the WattOn Energy Meter
does not have a regular stockist in NZ. It may be available in NZ on special order from Right House
in Wellington. The WattsOn is easily available from AusEnergy
in Australia. Scroll down that page for stockists and wholesale details. Australia has the same power socket configuration as NZ and similar electrical standards. The WattsOn uses an LED display and can be seen at night and across a room. Additionally the display will glow blue, purple and red for low, average, and high energy use. Uses wireless and/or PC interface.
Home Area Networks (HAN)
Home area networks control and manage electrical devices within the home. Managed devices include entertainment systems, heating and cooling, appliances etc. In the simplest form legacy appliances may be placed under HAN control and management using simple electrical outlet adapters. In some markets appliance manufacturers are now beginning to ship appliances with integrated HAN capability. Some utility smart meters also provide HAN integration allowing consumers to choose tariffs and manage usage from a HAN management device. Optionally with agreement from the consumer some HAN devices allow the utility to perform demand management. At present there is no dominant HAN standard. ZigBee is the most widely accepted open standard, and gaining ground. The RF4CE (Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics) standard has merged with the ZigBee standard. The frequent Zigbee industry event presentations give a good overview of the latest developments.
Control4 HAN management and device control
"The Control4® EMS 100 is built on an open platform that supports device interoperability and incorporates industry standards including Linux2.6, Adobe Flash Lite, ZigBee SE and HA profiles, WiFi, and H.264. The system is extensible for third party application development and can be upgraded to support new standards including RF4CE and ZigBee SE 2.0. It is secured through Open SSL, Open SSH standards, SEP, WPA, and WEP."
A Control4 App Store provides application programs for the system. For the iPhone & iPod Control4 remote control applications are available from iTunes.
Fibaro ZWave Smart Energy Monitor / ZWave inline switch
Insteon home automation have announced entry
into the NZ/Australian and European markets in mid-2012.
In the North American market Insteon offer several energy monitoring and energy saving modules:
iMeter Solo - A single appliance energy monitor module.
Energy Display - for iMeter Solo - Displays readings from up to three iMeter Solo devices.
Syncrolinc - A master appliance device with configurable trigger wattage - use to switch on and off remote child devices connected with SwitchLinc, LampLinc or ApplianceLinc devices.
A range of options are available for computer and iPhone monitoring and control of Insteon devices.
Splash systems provide devices and architecture to aggregate and visualize data from diverse energy monitoring systems. New systems can be added in under an hour. Visualisation with animations, data logging and graphing, custom alerts, and detailed reporting. NZ based.
Open source energy monitoring
Open source energy monitoring devices are listed on a separate page. Most are suitable only for users with advanced computer and / or electronics knowledge. Flukso is an exception.
is a New Zealand based online service. Designed with NZ conditions in mind. Provides cost monitoring and easy time period comparison. Integrates with NZ electricity retailers for accurate and up to date tariff/unit cost information. More features planned. Owned by Wellington based energy consultancy Energy Fix
. Compatible with Current Cost
Some energy retailers in New Zealand offer online and offline tools to monitor electricity usage. Electricity retailers in NZ are unable to provide usage information online in real-time at present. The required real time communication infrastructure does not yet exist. Most smart meters in NZ use a cellphone type network connection for data transfer.
Technology in this area is changing rapidly. To get the latest information contact your electricity retailer and feel free to comment this page with any updates.
For advanced meter customers Genesis Energy provide the ability to view and track electricity usage data online.
Powershop are able to provide some customers with online energy use data in half hour slices. A review (2009) on GeekZone gives an overview of the service. Ari Sargent (Powershop CEO) commented on the Powershop blog (June 2010): "[...] For some meters we get daily usage readings, for others we get half-hourly usage information (but only supplied once per week) ie. neither are nea[r] real-time". Powershop are able to facilitate smart meter installation for some customers. Powershop provides an API which independent software developers can use to link Powershop accounts with online monitoring services, or create innovative services and products of their own.
Mercury GEM (Good Energy Monitor) provides electricity and gas data available to all residential customers. Basic reports include monthly and prior year comparisons. Users with advanced meters see power usage in 30 minute blocks and projected cost of the next bill.
Consumer NZ Review
Mercury Timewise provides an in home display which glows red, orange or green depending on the current time of day tariff charge. The associated online service displays energy use in half hour time slices. Mercury is trialing this variable tariff service called in selected areas.
Mercury Advance is a prepay power service with flexible top up options, alerts and online dashboard with power use displayed daily. Mercury is trialing this service with selected customers. Screenshots of the user interface are on display here.
Mercury Onzo Energy Monitor home display. The Onzo trial is now closed to new applications.
See the archive for details.
Meridian Energy are trialing a service called "Daily Energy Report". Daily energy reports are provided to opt-in users by email. The trial is currently open to around 56,000 Christchurch users only. See this item on the news page for more details and links to the service.
Discussion area for household level energy monitoring devices. All comments, questions and discussion items will be viewed and posted below in less than 24 hours. No registration needed.
| 20/02/2013 15:13|| Barry Marshall||Hi there, my prolific USB to serial just will not work on my Windows 8 machine. Is there an alternative serial port driver device? Many Thanks|
| 25/02/2013 21:41|| Mike O||Can also confirm Aeon Labs Home Energy Monitor works fine. Another Z-wave device which I'm currently using with Homeseer. Also their smart energy switches also provide individual device readings which can be handy to use/know|
| 26/02/2013 10:29|| Editor [Moderator]||Barry, are you aware of the advisory from Prolific? http://www.prolific.com.tw/US/ShowProduct.aspx?p_id=225&pcid=41 |
| 12/09/2013 14:57|| Ben Jones||Hi, I have just started a new online store for selling home automation devices for the NZ market. I started playing around in this field about 9 months ago and found it very difficult to find devices sourced locally, so decided to start a business to rectify this! You can check it out at www.smartthingsnz.co.nz. Feel free to add it to your list of retailers above. Kind regards, Ben.|
| 19/12/2013 00:57|| cladzo91||None yet|
| 30/04/2014 14:01|| John Irving||Are any of these systems suitable for import/export situations ie where
PV has been installed? Are they able to aggregate the PV generation data
which can be accessed from the Inverter system?|
| 12/02/2015 22:28|| Douglas Herbert|| Hi John, We are using the WattsOn Energy Meter at home for monitoring our usage and PV generation. They also have a product that divert your excess solar energy to your hot water cylinder. View our usage here: http://wattson.energyhive.com/dashboard/greenco. We are re-seller's of their product in Wellington and can be contacted at email@example.com|
| 09/11/2015 21:40|| Alex|| Do It All Tech website sell Aeotec, Remotec, Vera and Fibaro products