Can Eragy Make Home Energy Monitoring Engaging?

September 15, 2011
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Home energy monitoring software company Eragy has made a free app available for Control4 home control system users. And the company has designs on making energy monitoring and energy management truly engaging for consumers.

With the Watts on Now! app for Control4 home control systems, users can see what devices on their home networks are consuming energy, then control them.

The Watts on Now! software provides a simple interface that shows the amount of energy being used on the network. Users can see the cost per hour, easy-to-understand month-to-date costs and estimates—as well as use the system to turn devices like lights on and off.

A paid version of Watts on Now! can monitor whole-house energy use with the addition of a power sensor such as TED 5000 series or eGauge that is wired to a home’s electrical panel. Eragy says that Watt’s on Now!, coupled with a compatible in-home power sensor, enables homeowners to save up to 20 percent or more off their monthly electric bills.

Paid version users also have access to a web portal and their energy histories. They can monitor their energy usage from their TV screen, iPad, Control4 touchscreen or web browser. Smartphone users can access their energy info from the phone’s web browser. Specific apps for smartphones are planned.

The paid version is $199 and includes the Control4 app and the first 12 months of service. After that, the service is $96 a year.

Eragy’s free MyEragy software is still available to energy efficiency professionals such as energy auditors and HVAC and solar system installers.

More Engaging Paid Version

The paid version supports whole-house and some circuit-level monitoring with a third-party sensors, as well as solar production.

The paid version of Watt’s on Now! also provides an easy way for solar electric users to visualize their energy consumption and energy generation and understand the real-time and historical value of their generated energy.

Watt’s on Now! also supports many of the complex utility rate plans that exist in California, Arizona, and other areas across the U.S and Canada, including Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) rate plans. The app works in conjunction with Eragy’s cloud-based Utility Rate Engine and enables users to instantly understand the true value of solar energy being generated, even in areas that have multitier, time-of-use, and demand-based utility rates. Some utilities have tiered rate plans that increase costs if you exceed a usage amount during a billing period. Time of use electric rates can change by the hour or minute, depending on whether it’s a peak load period, which are priced higher.

This kind of dynamic integration with changing utility rates can prove valuable as these rate plans increase and more homeowners adopt solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to produce their own electricity.

The paid version of Watts on Now also provides alerts so users can see if appliances are using too much energy and may require servicing.

Eragy vice president of sales and marketing Mark Komanecky says the idea behind the “Freemium” version of Watts on Now is to give people a taste of energy monitoring and energy management.

“What will keep people engaged in the long run is requiring information that’s valuable,” such as alerts and Eragy’s Utility Rate Engine, he adds.

Down the road, expect more advanced energy management features—perhaps with the ability to shed high-energy loads from appliances depending on your home’ energy use, as well as goal-setting. In other words, users might be able to set energy goals with such an Eragy system. Social comparisons (how your energy use compares to others) and goal setting have been proven to inspire behavior change in people.

“Until we get to the point that we’re actively managing things in the house, setting goals and being coached and notified with alerts” will be Eragy’s direction.

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