AlertMe home energy monitoring and Google PowerMeter

AlertMe_energy-kitAlertMe, an energy monitoring device based in the UK, has announced they are teaming up with Google to display energy use on the iGoogle home page.  I covered the first U.S. company to team up with Google a few weeks ago with my blog on the TED 5000 and Google PowerMeter.   Currently, AlertMe is only available in the U.K. but apparently they have plans to bring the product to the U.S.  This is exciting because unlike the TED 5000, apparently AlertMe can measure natural gas usage!

AlertMe is a meter reader, in that you dont have to hook up anything to your electrical panel.  Most people feel much more comfortable installing  this type of product as opposed to one where you have to wire anything in your homes electrical panel.  AlertMe is basically a transmitter (that clips on to your meter) and hub (which collects data from the transmitter).  I have a few questions about the range between the two.  My home is a townhome and the electrical meter for all 4 townhomes in my row is on one of the end units, about 20 yards from my house.  Will the transmitter communicate a hub over that distance?

The other major difference between TED 5000 and AlertMe is that the latter charges a small monthly fee to host the data.  Some may be more comfortable with a smaller upfront costs but monthly fee, while others will prefer to pay for everything up front and own the data.  Also, apparently AlertMe will be able to monitor individual circuits with the addition of SmartPlugs!

I dont know how well the product works, but it looks like a more complete solution compared to the TED 5000 with the ability to measure natural gas and individual circuits.  Let's see what happens when they release it in the U.S.  See the AlertMe press release below.

I'm very excited about all the announcements in the home energy monitoring area!

Cambridge, England – October 28, 2009 – AlertMe, the award-winning home energy management service, today announced the launch of AlertMe Energy, giving consumers the ability to monitor their home energy usage online and act on that information to reduce their bills and carbon footprint. AlertMe Energy includes easy-to-install hardware and an online service that can be accessed from any Web browser. It is also tightly integrated with Google PowerMeter, making it easy to track energy consumption live from an iGoogle home page.

AlertMe Energy is simple to install and comes with the following:

  • A Meter Reader clips onto the home’s electricity meter, monitoring energy use for the entire home. No costly installation required.
  • A Hub plugs into the home broadband connection. This connects all in-home accessories (such as the Meter Reader) to the AlertMe service on the Web.
  • The online service and AlertMe dashboard is accessible anywhere the customer has an internet connection, from Web-enabled mobile phones to Google PowerMeter on their iGoogle home page. It clearly displays the home’s energy use and makes it easy to see the impact of changes over time to save money and energy.

“Many consumers feel they can’t protect themselves from rising energy costs or do anything to stop climate change. However, more than a quarter of all energy use happens in our homes and now AlertMe Energy gives consumers the power to monitor, control, and reduce the energy they use, saving money and reducing their carbon footprint,” said Pilgrim Beart, founder and CEO, AlertMe, “Our partnership with Google PowerMeter puts your home energy consumption right in front of you every time you go online.”

AlertMe is constantly expanding its online service to give consumers new options and functionality. At present, AlertMe Energy can be enhanced by adding SmartPlugs to automatically measure and control individual appliances, providing greater savings and convenience. In the future, AlertMe will provide a deeper level of detail and offer automated, tailored recommendations, making it even simpler to change behavior and save money.

AlertMe is also announcing a partnership with Google, becoming the first self-install consumer device company to partner with Google PowerMeter and the only one with a product available in the UK. AlertMe customers can now access their home’s data through Google PowerMeter or their iGoogle homepage, in addition to the AlertMe online dashboard. With devices like AlertMe, consumers don't need a smart meter installed by their utility to use Google PowerMeter, making it easier for people to put energy use into their own hands.

“The combination of AlertMe and Google PowerMeter gives consumers a complete solution for monitoring home energy use and costs,” said Ed Lu, Google PowerMeter’s lead engineer. “Within just a few minutes, you can have AlertMe up and running and get a view of where your energy is going through Google PowerMeter, which is accessible anywhere you can access the internet. We want to empower consumers to take energy information into their own hands and we are excited to work closely with AlertMe on this initiative.”

AlertMe recently announced a trial with British Gas to provide AlertMe Smart Home Energy products in UK homes, including online heating control and smart metering.  Today’s announcement means customers can now purchase AlertMe Energy directly from British Gas.

“We can all play an important part in the fight against climate change by reducing our personal CO2 emissions.  As an added benefit, saving energy also saves money. Giving customers the information they need to better manage their home energy use is therefore crucial and we believe that AlertMe Energy is the perfect way for people to start doing this today,” said Gearoid Lane, Managing Director, Communities & New Energy at British Gas.

AlertMe Energy is now available from for £69.00 plus £2.99 per month for the online service. Alternatively, consumers can buy AlertMe Energy with an annual subscription for £99.00, providing 12 months’ service for the price of ten, from or by calling British Gas on 0800 1070187. AlertMe is also working with broadband providers, energy companies and retailers in the US, Europe and the UK to increase distribution and give consumers more ways to purchase the product.

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I would love to see this technology develop so that you can remotely control power when you're not at home-- for example, see that you've accidentally left something on and turn it off from your computer at work.
I think we are closer to that time than you think

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