Sunday, September 28, 2014

Energy Usage, Smart Meters, Apps, and Devices

A while back our old electrical meters were replaced with fancy "smart meters." What this means is that our energy company, Detroit Edison (aka DTE), can more frequently read our meters remotely.

Hourly usage data is available for download on the website and I am able to look at hour electric as well as sporadic gas estimates and readings. I have a viz coming that looks some dashboards with this data.

Before everything was at the hour level 
The other bit is they have a new smartphone app that can give me some basic graphs and report of my usage. A few days ago I also received and installed a energy bridge that connect to my network and it can then report minute level usage to DTE and myself using the internet instead of whatever protocol the meters normally use.

Now I can look at minute level and current kW.
The highlighted spike is when I was mowing
the grass with my electric mower.
With the lower level of detail I was able to pinpoint when the dishwasher turned on and heated the water, and when it dried the dishes. I am also able to see the furnace fan kick on for the first 15 minutes of every hour in circulate mode. This kind of information was lost when aggregated to a hourly level.

There are also some other views with monthly and weekly overviews. Cool, but not that interesting.

Also available is the ability to overlay the hourly outside temperature over your energy usage. While the sounds helpful it really isn't as my heat is from gas, and the app only looks at the primary meter. My AC is on a separate, interruptible meter, that has a lower rate. The outdoor conditions have little bearing on my primary electric usage. Fans and the furnace fan are the only things that would show up.


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