The Emberpulse installation went extremely smoothly, and just an hour later I am starting to get data that will help to stop the energy rip-off.

Regular readers will recall the recent article “Emberpulse can stop the energy rip-off” (here – read this first).  Today was my Emberpulse installation.

The process was simple. Book with www.emberpulse.com to have the Embermeter smart meter (in the power box) and Emberpulse (stand-alone visual indicator) installed.

Emberpulse requests a photo of the power box/board and a copy of your latest electricity bill. The photo of the board confirms if there is room for an Embermeter (mine did not, so the sparky installed single pole circuit breakers to make room) and the power bill is used to create a profile showing how much you pay at various times and for various types of power.

Emberpulse install

At precisely the nominated time the Emberpulse trained sparky turned up and within 30 minutes had installed the Embermeter (basically a Zigbee hub with energy, temperature and humidity monitoring) and set up the Emberpulse (another Zigbee device that connects to the Embermeter).

Emberpulse install
Embermeter on right
Emberpulse install
Danger Will Robinson!

Typical Emberpulse install price is around $500 which is amazing value on two fronts.

First, the stuff you don’t see in creating your profile and setting up cloud monitoring (in a safe, local and fully encrypted AWS cloud). Next for a sparky (they have an Australia-wide network) to come out and install and finally the cost of the equipment.

And second, “We guarantee to find you at least $500 in energy savings over three years. Savings may include identifying a better energy plan, recommending a solar system or home battery, or automating your energy usage. If Emberpulse doesn’t, we’ll pay you the difference between your identified savings and the $500 guarantee.” Managing Director of Embertec Dom Gelonese says that the savings are more likely made in one year!

What energy rip-off?

I have asked Dom to pen a few articles on the ins-and-outs of energy supply in Australia. Few understand it better than he does. We will see those articles soon.

Basically, Emberpulse enables consumers to monitor their energy use and make decisions about a retail supplier or plan, or when to use the washer or dryer etc. Information that energy companies already have but don’t disclose to consumers – at least in a meaningful way – to help them get the best rates. Without Emberpulse data only the energy retailer wins.

Initial scary observations

First that the Emberpulse is flashing red yet it is only 2 PM. Dom says that red means I am paying the highest rate. Emberpulse’s analysis of my bill shows that my plan is time-based – from 2 PM to 10 PM I pay 53.9 cents per kWh, from 10 PM to 7 AM its 17.20 cents and from 7 AM to 2 PM it is  28.2 cents per kWh. Plus a daily use charge of 96.4 cents a day.

There is nothing in my electricity bill to reveal that – bastards! I can understand the peak being at night or in the morning when there is lots of energy use but at 2 PM – why? Dom says Energy companies do not willingly tell consumers peak, shoulder and off-peak times.

Emberpulse install

(Note the image says 28.2 cents – that is because the peak rate does not apply during some months).

Next, I have only four halogen downlights and lights on plus a fridge, computer, a couple of screens, router etc. Why am I using 376 Watts? Dom switches off the halogen downlights, and it drops to 194 Watts. “Mate this will make you take more care with energy use.”

Based on that alone my next purchase will be to go to LED downlights. It will be fascinating to see the impact of dryers, air conditioning, heaters etc.

GadgetGuy’s take: Emberpulse data is gold

Armed with data gathered over the next few months I aim to reduce both my use and get a better plan. I love the analysis tools it provides too – you can cross-reference temperature, humidity, time of day and more to power use.

It is early days, but one thing is for sure – Emberpulse is the start.