Software company Eragy announced today it is offering a free version of its cloud-based energy monitoring and management application for homeowners and do-it-yourselfers. MyEragy is available immediately, as is fee-based professional version for utilities, service providers and HVAC, energy-efficiency and solar dealers.
The news comes on the heels of yesterday’s announcement by Google that it will discontinue its free PowerMeter energy monitoring application available to users of popular TED (The Energy Detective) and other home energy monitors.
MyEragy will work with TED 5000 series monitors, eGauge monitors and Envi monitors from CurrentCost in Europe. Circuit- and appliance-level monitoring are available with some TED and eGauge systems. More energy monitoring partners are in the works, says Mark Komanecky, vice president of sales and marketing for Eragy. Users require a broadband connection to access their MyEragy web-based dashboard.
MyEragy consumer and professional versions also include a Utility Rate Engine, which uses Eragy’s growing database of utility rate plans that supports flat rate, tiered, demand, time-of-use, and even complex combinations of these rate types. Eragy can help homeowners and others find the most cost-effective rate plan for their needs and energy usage, helping to realize larger savings. A more automated version of this feature may he available in a future version that may require a subscription.
Though the MyEragy software is in a beta stage, Komanecky says the company has been testing the system for a couple of months with some dealers and homeowners. He says Eragy has already added utility rates for all the largest electric utilities in the country, as well as some complex commercial rates upon request. “We have the lion’s share of where customers are getting their electricity,” he says.
The company does not have smartphone or iPad apps at this time, but users can access their energy usage information through those device’s web browsers. Eragy says it will have a solution optimized for mobile users.
Eragy’s add-on application to Control4 home control systems will remain unchanged. “This offers an alternative for people who may not have the means to install a Control4 system,” Komanecky says.
Like Eragy’s current home energy monitoring products for Control4 systems, MyEragy also includes a number of proactive alerts and notifications via email and text/SMS messages. Homeowners can receive alerts on their projected energy costs, when they exceed their monthly budget, and get notified if their power sensor is malfunctioning.
The MyEragy Pro version will offer a back-end solution for dealers, utilities and service providers to track their clients’ energy usage. The software can also be used to track multiple energy monitoring installations for light commercial applications. Pricing will depend on sales volume and the size of utility rollouts.
“This puts an infrastructure in place for an installer to monitor the health of the power sensor,” Komanecky says. “A solar contractor could use this to facilitate a better long-term relationship with their clients.” He also says that installation and HVAC installers who perform energy audits can also benefit by the system by differentiating themselves.
Eragy has not announced any utility partners at this time but is clearly looking to roll out in the utility and smart grid market. For now, utilities will have to employ energy monitoring hardware, though in the future Eragy sees its system working with two-way communicating smart meters being rolled out by utilities as part of their smart grid offerings.
“Some utilities don’t want to get into providing data to customers,” Komanecky says. “We can offer back end-analytics we can provide simpler, more cost-effective solutions.”
He adds that some smaller municipal-based utilities and electrical co-ops may be more nimble to roll-out energy monitoring programs at this time.
The company also appears to be eyeing the growing market for energy management through service providers such as cable companies, telcos and security providers. ADT and Comcast/Xfinity are already marketing home security systems with limited energy management such as remote operation and automation of thermostats and some lights.
Automated Energy Savings
The Holy Grail of home energy management remains fully automated, set-it-and-forget functionality. To achieve this, Eragy still has plans to offer automated shut-offs of big energy users like appliances and HVAC systems and hot water heaters. A high-voltage relay that Eragy showed last year, for example, could turn an appliance off or cycle it to avoid more costly electricity charges through tiered rates, for example. Tiered rate programs often charge significantly more for energy usage above a certain ceiling.