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CenterPoint smart meters


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to see how much electricity you’ve used in, for example, one week, write down this number at the beginning of the week then subtract it from the number displayed at the end of the week

from the pdf info, it's no different than it was previously. in the future you'll be able to do it from your computer. common sense is all it takes to save energy

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  • 1 month later...

Caught this on the CNET Blog from the upcoming CES 2010:

Whirlpool, Direct Energy assemble home energy system

A group of companies at the Consumer Electronics Show plan to show off a networked home energy management system for reducing consumer energy bills.

The demonstration will include network-aware appliances from Whirlpool, a two-way thermostat from Lennox, and a touch-screen central control point made by OpenPeak.

Energy retailer Direct Energy plans to test out the combination with about 40 homes in the Houston area in an effort to entice consumers to use tools to ratchet down their home energy use. Best Buy's Geek Squad will do installation of the home network system.

Adjusting how appliances are run can save $30 to $50 per year per appliance, according to Warwick Stirling, Whirlpool's global director of energy and sustainability. Jobs can be programmed to run at night, or multiple heavy loads, such as charging an electric car and running a dishwasher, can be prioritized to take advantage of off-peak rates, he said.

Through the OpenPeak device, consumers can control appliances as well as heating and cooling. It will also display real-time energy use and act as central hub for a wireless home network.

Direct Energy plans to gather energy data and provide recommendations on how consumers can cut energy use, said David Dollihite, vice president of product development at the company.

"We don't want to give people technology to manage energy but try to integrate energy management into their existing lifestyle with things they actually enjoy doing," he said. For example, Direct Energy could recommend a thermostat change which a consumer could quickly act on without sacrificing overall comfort.

The company chose the Houston area in part because it has already begun a roll-out of smart meters which can communicate information from the meter into the home. But Dollihite and Stirling said that the system can use an Internet connection to gather energy information if a smart meter is not installed.

Once information is available on Direct Energy's servers, consumers can access the data from multiple points, such as a PC, TV, or smartphone.

Dollihite said it's still not clear what sorts of companies will emerge as providers of energy conservation services, which have had very limited uptake by consumers in the past. He predicted that service plans will evolve as cell phone plans have, where consumers have a choice between paying upfront for equipment or a monthly fee for ongoing energy conservation services.

"This is the beginning of an energy ecosystem, which we hope is an attractive platform for other market participants to build to with ancillary services," he said.

http://ces.cnet.com/8301-31045_1-10425097-269.html?tag=mncol;txt

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  • 2 weeks later...

In theory they should already support Zwave, which I believe uses zigbee networking - it's on my long to-do list to hack up a zigbee transceiver and see what it'll tell me. I don't expect to get to it until this summer, but if I find anything useful, I'll come back and post it here.

!c

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  • 5 months later...

ok, so we've had our SmartMeter for a couple months now. I recently signed up to view our usage information on-line. But it's a little disappointing that the data that you can view is not at all real-time. You can't view data more recent than 2 days old. Sure, it's great that I can see the 15-minute increments for last week or even the past weekend but I was under the impression that this SmartMeter was going to have more real-time data.

Yes, I am capable of going outside and reading the meter, but that's no different than with the old less-smart meters.

anyone know of plans to make the power usage data less delayed?

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ok, so we've had our SmartMeter for a couple months now. I recently signed up to view our usage information on-line. But it's a little disappointing that the data that you can view is not at all real-time. You can't view data more recent than 2 days old. Sure, it's great that I can see the 15-minute increments for last week or even the past weekend but I was under the impression that this SmartMeter was going to have more real-time data.

Yes, I am capable of going outside and reading the meter, but that's no different than with the old less-smart meters.

anyone know of plans to make the power usage data less delayed?

Have you been able to use the information to reduce your electricity usage or electricity bill?

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Have you been able to use the information to reduce your electricity usage or electricity bill?

I certainly have. I've used it to monitor my peak usage and change my habits acordinly. Having access to to what my upcoming bill is going to be allows me to plan my budget better and cut back on my usage if I'm close to going over.

I see this as akin to being able to check how many cell mins I've used.

I've attached one of the recent emails from Reliant.

post-1265-062339800 1279147268_thumb.jpg

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JB I am curious, looking at your chart, why do you have that spike in the morning, and then a big drop at lunch. The afternoon-evening spike is understandable.

Thanks

I certainly have. I've used it to monitor my peak usage and change my habits acordinly. Having access to to what my upcoming bill is going to be allows me to plan my budget better and cut back on my usage if I'm close to going over.

I see this as akin to being able to check how many cell mins I've used.

I've attached one of the recent emails from Reliant.

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JB I am curious, looking at your chart, why do you have that spike in the morning, and then a big drop at lunch. The afternoon-evening spike is understandable.

Thanks

I have my AC flip on about half an hour before I get up and then turn off shortly after I leave for work. I like to have a cool house when I'm showering/getting ready for work.

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JB I am curious, looking at your chart, why do you have that spike in the morning, and then a big drop at lunch. The afternoon-evening spike is understandable.

Thanks

I would imagine that his turning on the TV, coffee maker, shaver, etc. would have something to do with that.

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I'm getting into this discussion a bit late, especially since I had one of the first 'smart' meters that Centerpoint installed (approximately 1 year ago.)

There may be money-saving benefits to the new meter, but they are realized entirely by the electrical provider, and the consumer can only hope that the savings will be passed through (hold your breath.)

How is a 'smart' meter going to help me regulate my usage if I cannot read it? According to customer service representatives at Reliant and Centerpoint, they can send me no info about how to read my meter. The old, reliable analogue meter was a snap to read, and i would take readings regularly throughout the month to gauge my upcoming bill. That option has been taken away from me. Apparently, some sort of guess-timite is available online, but they sure as hell don't promote access to it. In addition, if I need internet access to read my meter, shouldn't that be included with their service?

I am being charged a monthly fee for a piece of equipment which I do not want, and cannot take with me when I leave. Where was the Public Utilities Commission when this sweetheart deal went through?

As a former employee of a local electrical utility, I appreciate how complex the power grid can be, and the numerous stresses placed upon it. These meters can perform a valuable function in increasing reliability of service and in holding down costs. However, there seems to be no assurance that the consumer will ultimately benefit; whatever the outcome I'm betting that the CEO's bonus will not decrease.

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Thanks for the smart meter guide.

Its unfortunate that they don't show actual real-time total kVa load, only maximum (the 03A part of the display cycle).

Here's how to read your smart meter:

http://www.centerpointenergy.com/staticfiles/CNP/Common/SiteAssets/doc/How%20to%20Read%20Your%20Smart%20Meter%20020410.pdf

Time marches on. Analog is for the past. Digital is the future.

I loved my typewriter in back in the day but now I use a computer.

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Thanks for the information. I'm puzzled as to why the Centerpoint and Reliant representatives couldn't provide me with as much help when I called them last year.

Time marches on. Analog is for the past. Digital is the future.

I loved my typewriter in back in the day but now I use a computer.

Digital's great, usually, but let me ask you this: ever hear of a typewriter with a virus?

If the analogue meter malfunctioned, it would simply slow or come to a dead stop. I hope that when digital meters malfunction (and they will; everything does) they will likewise err in the consumer's favor. Time will tell.

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  • 4 months later...

They installed my new meter today. Of course, they didn't knock on the door first, so the first I knew about it was the power going out. I went outside to see what was going on, and the installer said he didn't have time to wait for people to come to the door, as he had 64 meters to install per day. Really poor planning on Centerpoint's part. Fortunately, I didn't lose anything important when the switch was pulled.

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I'd like to know how much Reliant pays for each meter. and if they ever plan to remove that cost from my side of the ledger? I've had mine for about two years now, and have paid for the privilege roughly $78.00. I have a relatively small carbon foot print, average monthly bill around $75.00, in my eyes I'm paying a 5% surcharge.

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 Somehow at sometime in the last few months I got one also. Just happened to be out on that side of the house and noticed it over the weekend. Must have been done when wife and I were at work. Never even got the "door hanger".  

Edited by Fringe
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I signed up for the weekly email option and it it great. I get a nice grahical comparison of last week vs this week as well as an estimate of what my end of the month bill will be! That helps me to budget better than before.

I can't wait until we have access to those home energy monitors that report live up-to-the minute electricty usage. I've read quite a few news reports about them being used to locate the power "hogs" in your home.

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  • 1 month later...

This morning a tech went down my street (77006) and changed out all of the Itron Openway meters. These were less than a year old. Tech said "recall."

I watched him do a couple and he had it down to about 15 seconds or less on loss of power. Thankfully I was not trading Mongolian uranium derivatives when my moment came.

Not much on the internet about a recall. Is it time to short the stock?

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Could be related to this:

Apparently, 47,000 of the new smart meters aren't too smart. That's how many CenterPoint is uninstalling.

The company explained it this way: one of the big benefits of the new smart meters is that in the future, they'll be able to connect to your refrigerator or A/C to show exactly how much electricity each appliance or device is using at any time.

But CenterPoint discovered these 47,000 would not connect to those devices, many of which aren't even available yet.

CenterPoint said the meters in question were providing accurate reads and that no erroneous bills were sent out because of them.

http://www.click2houston.com/news/26367960/detail.html
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Just noticed one of the major benefits to the new smartmeters is that now I can get a better view my usage and have the ablity to project what my bill will be each month on reliant.com Pretty sweet. Now the only thing that is missing is having a device that I can use to track "real time" usage.

smartdata.jpg

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I'm not a fan of being forced to buy something, especially when I'm told it's "for my benefit". Well then offer it to me and let me decide. When I have no choice, then clearly it's for the benefit of someone else, even if there are possible minor fringe benefits to me.

And gotta love the Californians for at least standing up and saying no.

http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/21686

Oh but I'm sure they're just over-reacting since, if there were any actual risk to radiation being produced, then those same folks who are looking out for our best interests would have let us know.

And Al Gore is quite pleased that we now have these things as he cares about you, I and the planet. Really.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/al-gore-set-to-become-first-carbon-billionaire.html

Yes, his main house had a $30K electric bill a few years ago and has something like 10 other houses. But I will be able to communicate with my smart refrigerator etc very soon. I can't wait! I love technology! Maybe they'll even be able to send me a text message when I forget to turn off my porch light in the morning!

What the people want doesn't count. That's the clear message here.

Edited by Lotus
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Yup, there is always one idiot that has to turn EVERYTHING political rather see the value in technological progress. Save your political comments for Sarah Palin's Facebook page will you.

These new smart meters and digital tools put current information in my hands that I can easier use to take charge of my energy usage and thus LOWER MY BILLS.

It doesn’t make sense to put EVERYTHING up for a vote. Systems like this only work if the whole grid moves to digital. Having every numbnut decide whether they want one are not doesn’t make any sense and is inefficient.

For those that don't want to continue on with Societies' progress, may I suggest a couple of options:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Unabomber-cabin.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Carmel_Center

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I like digital stuff and data more than the average person, but come on, you don't need this to figure out how to lower your electric bill. I think it's interesting to see the daily trends and I like to have fun with graphs. That's about all I get from it. If my bill is too high, I know what to turn off. I used to check my analog meter several times per month and even that way it's easy to estimate what your usage and bill is going to be.

If you turn &^#%$ off, your bill will be lower. There's the intelligence you are seeking.

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Yup, there is always one idiot that has to turn EVERYTHING political rather see the value in technological progress. Save your political comments for Sarah Palin's Facebook page will you.

You appear to be the "idiot" by your definition as you interpreted my laying out some background info on these meters as political. But really you're right, it is political. Thinking that it isn't and that criticizing Al Gore means that I'm a Palin fan is not correct. I see the motivation behind the mass implementation of these meters as insincere, the passing of the cost to the taxpayers by way of monthly charges and Federal grants as outrageous and the benefits as minimal.

Keep an eye out for more Al Gore funded products that will become "mandatory". The waterless toilet is probably next. Don't like skid marks? Live with it. Can't wait!

Edited by Lotus
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I like digital stuff and data more than the average person, but come on, you don't need this to figure out how to lower your electric bill. I think it's interesting to see the daily trends and I like to have fun with graphs. That's about all I get from it. If my bill is too high, I know what to turn off. I used to check my analog meter several times per month and even that way it's easy to estimate what your usage and bill is going to be.

If you turn &^#%$ off, your bill will be lower. There's the intelligence you are seeking.

Some of us don't have easy access to our meters. My own is down in our condo garage, in the dark, with cars parked in front of it. I'm not going down there several times a month and try to do the convaluted "calculations" along little microscopic clocks. Also, to continue the practice of having a meter reader go from house to house with a clipboard in 2011 is insanity. Time marches on and don't hear anyone bemoning the fact that we don't have milkmen or ice delverymen anymore.

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Some of us don't have easy access to our meters. My own is down in our condo garage, in the dark, with cars parked in front of it. I'm not going down there several times a month and try to do the convaluted "calculations" along little microscopic clocks. Also, to continue the practice of having a meter reader go from house to house with a clipboard in 2011 is insanity. Time marches on and don't hear anyone bemoning the fact that we don't have milkmen or ice delverymen anymore.

Elimination of the meter readers is an excellent reason to tout these new meters, I never said otherwise. As far as convoluted calculations, subtracting one 5-digit number from another never bothered me. It is very convenient to see the information online rather than having to go outside or downstairs, I still just don't get anyone gaining great knowledge on how to reduce their bill beyond what is obvious.

Edited by 20thStDad
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Some of us don't have easy access to our meters. My own is down in our condo garage, in the dark, with cars parked in front of it. I'm not going down there several times a month and try to do the convaluted "calculations" along little microscopic clocks. Also, to continue the practice of having a meter reader go from house to house with a clipboard in 2011 is insanity. Time marches on and don't hear anyone bemoning the fact that we don't have milkmen or ice delverymen anymore.

But meter reader elimination is of financial benefit to Reliant, not you and I. But you and I are paying for it. How does that happen? There's a political decision or two in there somewhere. <_< . If they were to offer the people a better meter at their expense, then fine.

And I asked the "obvious" (what benefits are there to this meter that I was forced to buy) to a city councilperson rep who appeared at my neighborhood meeting. He had even attended some tour/presentation at one of the power plant places for these meters and could not even tell the crowd what real benefit the people received. He stumbled embarrasingly trying to remember something but he and the meters were exposed as lame. It's all some kind of vague idea that somehow it must be a good idea. But hardly anyone one cares, thinks past the propaganda or asks questions anymore and just goes along like good little slaves and so expect more of the same.

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Elimination of the meter readers is an excellent reason to tout these new meters, I never said otherwise. As far as convoluted calculations, subtracting one 5-digit number from another never bothered me. It is very convenient to see the information online rather than having to go outside or downstairs, I still just don't get anyone gaining great knowledge on how to reduce their bill beyond what is obvious.

What is obvious to one may not be obvious to another. Different people need to see info in different ways. Some folks are visual, others want to see the raw data. Making it easier to spot trends allows more people to act on those trends. As a PM I deal with behaverial change management issues all the time and its very hard to get folks to do whats in their best interest (i.e using less energy and saving $$) unless they see a "direct connection" between behavior/result and the path to change is the path of least resistence.

Yes, this info has always been available but making it easier to access and digest will reap greater rewards.

Many people do things against their own self interest if they've got to take extra steps. Its one of the reasons why mail-in rebates are so popular with retail stores. They know that a large % of the population is going neglect to jump through all the hoops of mailing all that crap to them.

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But meter reader elimination is of financial benefit to Reliant, not you and I. But you and I are paying for it. How does that happen? There's a political decision or two in there somewhere. <_< . If they were to offer the people a better meter at their expense, then fine.

And I asked the "obvious" (what benefits are there to this meter that I was forced to buy) to a city councilperson rep who appeared at my neighborhood meeting. He had even attended some tour/presentation at one of the power plant places for these meters and could not even tell the crowd what real benefit the people received. He stumbled embarrasingly trying to remember something but he and the meters were exposed as lame. It's all some kind of vague idea that somehow it must be a good idea. But hardly anyone one cares, thinks past the propaganda or asks questions anymore and just goes along like good little slaves and so expect more of the same.

Dude, these are what comes with living part of community and a society. If you don't like that then again, here are a couple of options:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Unabomber-cabin.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Carmel_Center

It's not some big "conspiracy", its an upgrade to the grid and there is a cost associated with that. I for one have used this easier to use data to lower my average bill year over year by $30/month. So even with the "fee" I'm still coming out ahead.

And Reliant isn't the "guvment" its a private company. Electric deregulation occured last decade.

Of course, Ted Kaczynski raised alot your similar points in his writings:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Industrial_Society_and_Its_Future

Edited by jb4647
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Dude, these are what comes with living part of community and a society. If you don't like that then again, here are a couple of options:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Unabomber-cabin.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Carmel_Center

It's not some big "conspiracy", its an upgrade to the grid and there is a cost associated with that. I for one have used this easier to use data to lower my average bill year over year by $30/month. So even with the "fee" I'm still coming out ahead.

And Reliant isn't the "guvment" its a private company. Electric deregulation occured last decade.

Of course, Ted Kaczynski raised alot your similar points in his writings:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Industrial_Society_and_Its_Future

Conspiracies are secretive. This is out in the open. And Reliant is receiving $200M from the Federal Government to install these meters. They signed contracts with them. So call that what you will.

If you were to reread my posts, you would probably notice eventually that my gripe is with being charged against my will for something that is of minimal benefit. You could've saved $30 a month before these. You simply believe these folks care about you and I see it as a con job.

Living in a community and free society depends on people 1) paying attention, 2) doing their homework, 3) asking questions and 4) speaking out when they smell a rat. Other types of societies are based on people being told what to do and then doing what their told. These societies depend on deception. Don't let them tell you that questioning and speaking out is "extremist", it's what we should be doing.

So I'll log on, check my usage (as the new rate mangling based on time becomes more prevalent) and try to feel good that I'm being a smart and socially responsible citizen. :)

Edited by Lotus
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So I'll log on, check my usage (as the new rate mangling based on time becomes more prevalent) and try to feel good that I'm being a smart and socially responsible citizen. :)

And if you actually save some money....? It won't matter because you didn't have have a say? Just curious.

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Conspiracies are secretive. This is out in the open. And Reliant is receiving $200M from the Federal Government to install these meters. They signed contracts with them. So call that what you will.

If you were to reread my posts, you would probably notice eventually that my gripe is with being charged against my will for something that is of minimal benefit. You could've saved $30 a month before these. You simply believe these folks care about you and I see it as a con job.

Living in a community and free society depends on people 1) paying attention, 2) doing their homework, 3) asking questions and 4) speaking out when they smell a rat. Other types of societies are based on people being told what to do and then doing what their told. These societies depend on deception. Don't let them tell you that questioning and speaking out is "extremist", it's what we should be doing.

So I'll log on, check my usage (as the new rate mangling based on time becomes more prevalent) and try to feel good that I'm being a smart and socially responsible citizen. :)

When "speak out" about every little thing and blow them all out of proportion then yes you do come across as an "extremist." Charging a measely $3.24/mo is not tyranny or socialism. Its not the end of Democracy as we know it.

Like I said, using these new tools have saved me on average $30.00/mo. Less the $3.24 I'm still ahead by $26.76.

So thus, it seems to me that the loser here is the electric companies because now we will be able to better manage how much electricity we use and save money.

Like I said, its a matter of "proportion." Complaining and questioning every little thing and you wind up sounding like this fellow:

http://www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/stories/boy.html

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  • 1 month later...

Now for the gas meters..... on my street all the old gas meters have new plastic covers on the dials....are these new smart meter retrofits as well, or just new plastic covers? The dials still look pretty old and rusty.

Looks like just a new plastic cover. You have one of the really old analog dials. Newer meters are all digital.

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Anybody else participating in CenterPoint's pilot program on in-home energy monitors? I just got confirmation today, was told to expect the monitor within a week. I don't know who the program is open to, I got a letter about it in the mail last weekend.

http://www.centerpointenergy.com/services/electricity/residential/smartmeters/IHDpilot

CenterPoint will provide me an in-home energy monitor free of charge, and in exchange I agree to participate in 3 surveys about the monitor.

Apparently they're going to test several different monitors from various manufacturers. The monitors will provide real-time usage data, which will be much more useful to me than logging on to a website to find out how much energy I used two weeks ago. The website was a neat little novelty to me for a couple of weeks, but I haven't logged on in months now...is was not very useful to me. I hope for better results from real-time monitor.

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I haven't recieved any word but would be interesting in participating. Like you, I find the information useful and interesting but would like to have the ability to track it in real time. Right now I use a programable thermestat. I have it set to come on at 5p each day which is nice for when I got home between 5:30-6. But on days when I either work late or go out for a happy hour or something I'd like to be able to long on to it on my smartphone and shut it off rather than wasting engergy and $$.

Anybody else participating in CenterPoint's pilot program on in-home energy monitors? I just got confirmation today, was told to expect the monitor within a week. I don't know who the program is open to, I got a letter about it in the mail last weekend.

http://www.centerpointenergy.com/services/electricity/residential/smartmeters/IHDpilot

CenterPoint will provide me an in-home energy monitor free of charge, and in exchange I agree to participate in 3 surveys about the monitor.

Apparently they're going to test several different monitors from various manufacturers. The monitors will provide real-time usage data, which will be much more useful to me than logging on to a website to find out how much energy I used two weeks ago. The website was a neat little novelty to me for a couple of weeks, but I haven't logged on in months now...is was not very useful to me. I hope for better results from real-time monitor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Seems like all the hoopla about the meters being another opportunity to simply collect more money might be disappearing.

According to the chron article, they are dropping the added cost from $3.24 to $3.05 and will only need to collect for 4 years, instead of the original 10, due to the increased savings the company has seen since the installation of the devices began.

Put away the tin foil hats, people. :)

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