Blue Line Innovations and Eragy, two of the more interesting companies in home energy monitoring, are partnering to provide easy energy monitoring for do-it-yourselfers, owners of Control4 home control systems, and even utilities rolling out energy-saving and smart grid programs.
The partnership combines Blue Line’s low-cost PowerCost Monitor energy sensing hardware with Eragy’s suite of energy monitoring and energy management software.
The PowerCost Monitor ($109) fits on an electric meter and uses an optical sensor to read whole-house electricity usage, then reports that to a small in-home display. Blue Line’s WiFi Gateway ($159) is also needed to work with the Eragy software.
The PowerCost Monitor will be available with different versions of Eragy software, serving a number of markets: do-it-yourselfers, homeowners with Control4 IP-based home control systems, and professional versions for electric utilities and energy efficiency professionals such as energy auditors and solar system and HVAC installers.
The PowerCost Monitor and free myEragy software show a user’s cost of electricity, based on the local utility’s rate plan, projected bill, recent usage, and can deliver alerts on projected energy costs when they exceed a monthly budget. Users can also be notified if their power sensor or network is off-line. Here’s a short video showing myEragy’s interface and features. The PowerCost Monitor/myEragy package is available now at retail outlets such as Lowe’s, Amazon.com, Crutchfield or any existing Blue Line retailers or Eragy dealers.
Home Control Integration
The PowerCost Monitor can pair with Eragy’s Watts on Now! software app for Control4 home control systems ($199 plus first 12 months of service). The PowerCost Monitor connects wirelessly to a Control4 system, enabling Control4 dealers to install energy management systems in both new and existing homes.
With the Watts on Now! solution for Control4 IP-based home control systems, homeowners can maximize energy savings by monitoring their energy and controlling thermostats, lighting, and other systems in the home. Watts On Now! also allows monitoring from a TV screen, iPad, smart phone, or web browser. A basic, free version of the Watts On Now! app is also available for Control4, but that only provides status on lighting, climate, and media systems and the ability to turn them off. Any energy/power/cost information requires the paid service and a power sensor.
The Eragy/Blue Line solution for Control4 systems will be available later this month through Eragy’s authorized Control4 dealers in the United States and Canada.
Utilities and Energy Efficiency Pros
PowerCost Monitor will also work with myEragy Pro, a paid version of myEragy that offers a back-end solution for energy efficiency professionals, utilities and service providers to track their clients’ energy usage. MyEragy Pro for consumers ($99 plus first year of service) provides additional features such as support for multiple power sensors per home, multiple user accounts, plus all of the dealer-level monitoring and support features.
According to Blue Line, the combination of the PowerCost Monitor and Eragy’s myEragy Pro platform enables utilities to rapidly deploy the first phase of consumer energy monitoring programs without the need for smart meters. MyEragy Pro also provides a scalable platform for utilities to further reduce peak demand on the grid via Eragy’s Intelligent Demand Management applications.
“We have demonstrated the Blue Line/myEragy PRO solution to several utilities already and the response has been terrific”, says Blue Line CEO Peter Porteous. “Utilities can now implement a full suite of demand and load control initiatives without any change to their existing meter infrastructure. This allows smaller utilities, co-ops, or those utilities not yet ready to make a significant grid/meter upgrade capital decision to deploy effective peak load shed and overall consumption reduction programs.”
That’s Not All
Eragy also offers its software with TED (The Energy Detective) and eGauge energy sensors, both of which can be used to monitor some individual circuits within the home. With multicircuit versions of the TED 5000 or eGauge sensors, user of the free myEragy software can get additional circuit-level cost and usage alerts plus recent and historical circuit-level cost/energy information, according to Eragy vice president of sales and marketing Mark Komanecky.
PowerCost Monitor can also work with PlotWatt and People Power energy monitoring applications, but thus far Eragy’s solution may be the most robust.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates.
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