The PowerCost Monitor
provides real-time feedback about a home's energy use in dollars or kWh, changes in usage, 30-day energy-use estimates, cumulative information (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.); it also shows the time and outside temperature.
Unlike some home-energy monitors, installation does not require an electrician; it can be set up by anyone within 15 minutes. Here are some frequently asked questions.
Q: How often is the data 'uploaded' to the monitor & WiFi?
A: The PowerCost Monitor sensor is reading the meter sensor on a continuous basis – most digital meters are sending data pulses every second and on electromechanical discs the sensor reads each rotation. The data is then uploaded to the monitor every 30 seconds – FCC regulations and to conserve battery life.
Q: Will the data on PowerCost Monitor be the same as on the end of month utility bill?
A: Technically yes. The PowerCost Monitor is reading the energy consumption data (KWH) from the meter as the utility company. The PowerCost Monitor is accurate to +/- 1% at the meter. Differences in KWH usage can be attributed to the timing of the read. Energy billing however varies and it will be important to compare the same data between the PowerCost Monitor and the monthly energy bill – fixed user charges from the utility should be converted and included in the variable (per KW) rate loaded in the PowerCost Monitor.
Q: I have a solar panel; will the PowerCost Monitor measure the energy that is produced and sold back to the grid?
A: This is called net metering. The PowerCost Monitor is not net meter applicable at this time. The PowerCost Monitor reads activity, in or out, but records it as a positive occurrence so the information collected will overstate energy consumption. If you purchased 1000kWh’s of energy and “sold” 100 kWh’s back to the grid the PowerCost Monitor will record this information as 1100KWH’s.
Q: If Blue Line Innovations has been on the market for 6+ years, why am I just hearing about this for the first time?
A: To date the PowerCost Monitor has been made available exclusively through partnerships and projects with specific utilities throughout North America. In 2009 the PowerCost Monitor began to be offered for sale by retailers as well.
Q: Are there other products like the PowerCost Monitor on the market today?
A: There are other more data rich products on the market. These products require installation by an electrician and offer PC based solutions. These are very credible products and clearly have appeal to enthusiasts who require longer term data trending. The PowerCost Monitor concept is based on driving behavior change through real time, visible, present and whole family engagement – seeing moment to moment actions and results.
Q: What is the range of the PowerCost Monitor? Will it work throughout my home?
A: The PowerCost Monitor is designed for 100ft range between the
sensor and the monitor – clear line of sight. It is estimated that range
can be diminished by 8-15ft per wall between the sensor and monitor.
Q: Does the PowerCost Monitor interfere with any other electrical devices in the home?
A: The PowerCost Monitor works on the 433 MHz frequency range. In
home wireless weather stations tend to work on the same range and
interference can occur. The solution is to run one device at a time.
Q: Is the PowerCost Monitor concept supported by the energy companies?
A: To date we have completed projects with 125 different utilities where the energy company has helped provide the PowerCost Monitor to its customers. The PowerCost Monitor is passive. It does not interfere with the meter, the integrity of its data or the ability for the meter reader to access the data. Any “issues” in the field have generally come simply from a lack of understanding and is rectified through a discussion with the utility.
In some states the Energy Company is mandated by state law to assist its customers with energy reduction initiatives and certainly the PowerCost Monitor is an excellent fit with those projects. That being said, there are a few instances where a utility has refused to allow the PowerCost Monitor to be attached to its meter and thus allow its customer base to reduce energy consumption and save $’s…….a difficult public position to defend!
Q: What is the expected battery life?
A: Sensor – 8-12 months. Varies by electromechanical (shorter) and digital meter.Battery life naturally degrades in cold weather applications. Lithium batteries recommended for cold weather regions. Monitor - 12 months
Q: Regarding data storage, do I lose data or settings if the batteries go dead or when I change the batteries?
A: No. The data is held in non volatile memory.
Q: Will the PowerCost Monitor work in multi-unit dwellings?
A: For a consumer to self install, the answer is no.There are some applications where this can work but it’s a more complicated install in order to avoid the risk of sensor/monitor interference. The Blue Line Innovations Tech Support team can work through the application with our authorized dealer partner.
Q: What can go wrong? What are the watch outs?
A: Meter Compatibility, Sensor Installation, Data load on the monitor
Q: What is the warranty?
A: 1 year workmanship and defects – replace or refund at mfr discretion Blue Line Innovations will provide customer support on the 800 number and clarify our warranty policy but direct the consumer back to their point of purchase. Blue Line Innovations will then fully support our authorized dealers/retailers and a simple RMA process exists. To insure product quality and control all units in a product quality stated issue will be requested to be returned (at Blue Line's expense) for full testing and analysis.
Contact Customer Support
Email [email protected] or call toll-free: 1-866-607-2583.