Using BlueLine Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor To Measure Our Home’s Electricity Consumption – 2

Yesterday we introduced you to the PowerCost Monitor™, a device which provides a homeowner with real time data, in both Kilowatts and in dollars & cents, on the electricity being consumed in their home.

With this information, a homeowner can monitor action taken to reduce the amount of electricity consumed in the home and same them money.

Today, we look at the installation.

Here is the type of electric meter we have on the outside of our home.

electromechanical electric meter 02 Using BlueLine Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor To Measure Our Home’s Electricity Consumption   2

This energy conservation product fits on different types of electric meters, including electromechanical (like the one on our house), electronic with optical port on the face or on the top of the meter.

And, the PowerCost Monitor™ can be programmed for time based, single flat rate or tiered rate type of billing.

The installation went pretty smoothly, because of the detailed instructions. I mentioned yesterday that I really like the clarity and completeness of the PowerCost Monitor’s installation instructions. However, it forgot one step; attach the hose clamp to the outdoor Sensor Unit. Oh, well .. it was pretty simple, even for me.

powercost monitor sensor unit 15 Using BlueLine Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor To Measure Our Home’s Electricity Consumption   2

What I liked as well about the installation was that there was no wiring involved at all. I hate wires. The outdoor Sensor Unit has a wireless connection to the indoor Display Unit to provide it with the electricity consumed. Yea … I like wireless. icon smile Using BlueLine Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor To Measure Our Home’s Electricity Consumption   2

The outdoor Sensor Unit fit over our electric meter and was easily tightened with a Flat Head screwdriver.

powercost monitor sensor unit outside 18 Using BlueLine Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor To Measure Our Home’s Electricity Consumption   2

Notice in the above picture of the PowerCost Monitor™’s Sensor Unit that its arm is positioned over the  spinning disk within our electric meter, in order for it to read the electric consumption on this electromechanical meter type.

After following the last part of the installation instructions, the Display Unit started to receive the electricity consumption data and display both the Kilowatts consumed and what it was costing us.

powercost monitor display unit 20 Using BlueLine Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor To Measure Our Home’s Electricity Consumption   2

In the above picture, the top number shows that we are consuming $0.07 of electricity per hour. Not that much. Then again, we do not have electric heating and the picture was taken during the day with only one entertainment system (TV, Receiver, Satellite Receiver), the refrigerator on, my laptop used to write this article plugged into the electrical outlet in the wall, and only one or two table lamps with CFL light bulbs therein.

The $0.01 number in the middle indicates that we have consumed one cent of electricity since we started the unit, which was only a few minutes ago, while the lower numbers indicate it was 16 degrees Celsius (you can have it show temperature in Fahrenheit if you want) outside and I took the picture at 3:18 in the afternoon.

The unit has many different features to display different energy consumption data useful for the household.

So, is this product worth the current $119 + taxes, shipping, etc. price? Well, we don’t have time right now to go into more details of the display. Have we personally saved any money through reduced electricity consumption because of actions we took in our home based on the electricity consumption on the display?

Well, gee, we just installed it. icon smile Using BlueLine Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor To Measure Our Home’s Electricity Consumption   2   Sounds promising so far, but give us a few weeks, months to use the unit, OK? icon wink Using BlueLine Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor To Measure Our Home’s Electricity Consumption   2

We’ll be back again and let you know our thoughts in a while once we have had a chance to learn more about the real time electricity consumption data provided by the PowerCost Monitor™.

However, for now, I’d say we are off to a very promising start.

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  1. Vasile says:


    Just to let you know, Ontario has a smartmeter deployment program. A smartmeter does exactly what this device does and even more, since it also lets you see the data online with resolution down to the hour. Even more, it lets you download the data in Excel so you may analyze it further, if you want to :-) You may want to check if your utility if you can install one.

    From my experience, this kind of devices is not as far as useful as the Kill-a-watt type, which allows you to find *where* exactly in the house the electricity is wasted. Canadian Tire has sales a few times a year for their “energy meter”, and mine worked perfectly.

    But this device it’s good enough for a first evaluation of the consumption.


  2. Dan says:

    Hi Vasile,

    I can’t comment on Smart Meter program (to be installed in all Ontario homes by the end of 2010 from what I can tell) or the devices which are part of that since I don’t have one on our house.

    What I will say, however, is that the vast majority of folks don’t give a second thought to energy conservation and will not take the time to download detailed data, view it in Excel, manipulate it in Excel, etc., etc. IMO, for the vast majority, energy conservation is out-of-site-out-of-mind type of issue. They want electricity, home heating, etc. to cost less (if anything at all) but are not willing to take / invest any time (as you and I do) to take action on reducing their home’s carbon footprint.

    So, a device which is very simple to install and which will display in a constantly visible place in the home real time current electricity usage I think is a more effective for the masses to constantly receive a reminder, without doing anything to receive that reminder each time, that they are spending money on electricity.

    As far as your referenced ‘kill-a-watt’ type, again, I have no experience with it.


  3. Vasili, good comments regarding smart meters. Ontario is actually on the leading edge world wide on their progressive energy conservation policies and investment in Smart Grid and Smart Meter infrastructure and technologies. This is a significant step forward.

    I would offer that the PowerCost Monitor provides a much different proposition to the consumer regarding behavior change.

    What we know from our research and customer feedback is the single largest driver in energy savings for homes using the PowerCost Monitor is full family engagement, which really means getting the kids involved. Product design is critical to do just that – engage everyone in the family. What it has meant for us is – portability, near real time data and tools to provide feedback (“how are we doing”). The PowerCost Monitor reads whole home energy consumption and provides data reads every 30 seconds showing family members what they are spending moment to moment in $’s. The data is engaging. Watching the numbers move really draws you in and makes one want to better understand where and how those electricity costs are occuring in the home.

    We find the PowerCost Monitor wanders throughout the home and most typically its the kids standing in front of an appliance turning it on/off or adjusting settings to better understand the costs associated with those actions. With this information changes or tweaks are made throughout the home. This type of learning and feedback can’t be achieved unless the data is availalbe in near real time – 30 seconds or less. The 1 hour data reads from the utility provides good long term trending but is missing this precision. The PowerCost Monitor incorporates and estimate tab so based on recent consumption level an estimate is provided for a new 30 day electricity charge ($’s). This is where the fun begins. “How am I doing?” Postive results are reinforced and more tweaks are made. Again the PowerCost Monitor draws you in encouraging you to continue to make behvior changes around the home to further reduce the 30 day estimate.

    The Kill-a-watt is a terrific product as well. It provides a snap shot one appliance at a time. The PowerCost Monitor provides this function but also allows you to measure and adjust total home consumption – its the full report card.

    Again thanks for your comments and interest in this space. What’s really encouraging is this is a proven today technology that can allow most families to save significant $’s off their monthly electricity bill.

    Peter Porteous
    Blue Line Innovations

  4. Refrigerator Gaskets says:

    I’m interested in hearing how this product has worked out for you. I’ve been thinking about getting one of these devices, but haven’t been able to get too many reviews to see if they work properly. Please keep us updated.

  5. Nahida says:

    I would like to know is there a another way to take the conventional energy meter reading. By using a sensor.
    If You can help me that will be great, to start my project!

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