Blue Line Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor can be installed by homeowners—an electrician is not required—since the sensing unit attaches to the outside of the electric meter. The base model includes the sensor and display.
A pulse sensor on the meter communicates wirelessly, using your home Wi-Fi, to the display unit. For the basic BLI-28000, the information is only viewable on the display provided. To view your household’s real-time electricity usage online or to store and analyze data over time, you’ll need to choose from one of the third-party software offerings and need the PowerCost’s Wi-Fi bridge or gateway. These Wi-Fi accessories require a 120 VAC power supply, while the sensor units and displays operate on batteries.
The sensor unit may not be compatible with your electric meter—check compatibility on the Blue Line website before purchasing. The base unit will keep a cumulative total, as well as show real-time, instantaneous demand. The user programs in the utility rates so that the display can report the cost of electricity consumed. Alone, the PowerCost does not offer any control features, but some models can be synced with the Iris automated control system, enabling you to incorporate usage information into a home automation platform.
Energy Inc.’s basic TED 5000, will monitor total household electricity consumption and show it on a small display. On the display, you can toggle through instantaneous power (kW), cost per hour, recent use, monthly use to-date, and you can compare to a monthly projection.
TED uses one or more measuring transmitting units (MTUs) for each set of CTs, and up to four circuits can be monitored. The MTU resides in the electrical panel being monitored and requires a 120 VAC power supply. The MTU transmits a signal over the household wiring to the gateway and/or the display. If you prefer to view graphical information on a computer screen, you can forgo the display. Setup requires downloading Energy Inc.’s proprietary Footprints software and configuring your gateway much like another device on your network. For online viewing and smartphones, several third-party applications exist.
TED can monitor on-site renewable energy generation as one of its data inputs. While not revenue-grade monitoring, it may be sufficient for keeping informal tabs on your electricity consumed and generated.
Installers report that it is not unusual to spend time troubleshooting the signal over the power line, since other electronic devices in the home can interfere with TED’s signal. TED can be purchased from the website directly, or through distribution channels.
Wattvision is easy to install, but it only measures total electricity consumption—not other circuits or RE-system generation. With a pulse sensor installed at the electric meter, it does not require an electrician to install. You just select the correct sensor based on your existing utility meter technology, brand, and layout. The sensor is connected via 50 feet of wire to a Wi-Fi gateway, which requires a 120 VAC receptacle.