Electricity loggers are not cheap. Certainly not cheap enough to buy one and see if you can get some data from your own power board before it hits the Smart Meter
The next option is to get an electrician to come and help you.
If you are like me, you are frustrated that data that you own is sitting meters away in a box on the wall, and you can’t get to it without breaking the law! (WHAT?)
Do you really have to invest thousands or pay “from $400” to get someone else to show you what’s going on?
Number 8 Wire solution: OCR the Smart Meter display
I’ve been toying with the idea of putting a webcam in my meter box and capturing the readings on the Smart Meter display 24/7. I have the technical know-how to automatically put that data in a spreadsheet.
It’s going to take some time to set up, test and automate, however.
As it turns out, our brothers and sisters across the pond have already done this and created a retail package that you or I can install.
An electricity data logger for a little over 100 bucks?
At AUD$99 plus shipping that is a very attractive way to get closer to what’s going on inside your Smart Meter.
But here is the sad news: there is no export function. Even though you get more detail and analysis, it is contained in yet another box.
Another box that contains the data you own but you can’t get at it.
MARTY! IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FLUX CAPACITOR!
The cheapest electricity data logger I’ve been able to find is called he Fluksometer. Made(?) and sold by a Belgian company, it clocks in at a wallet-searing €170. And then you still need the €18 current clamp. And add shipping and import duties as well as GST. Ouch.
You can build your own monitor from parts. Use a Raspberry Pi, an old PC with a webcam with some OCR, or even get the soldering iron out and create your own black box that reads the LED pulse off the Smartmeter panel.
The cheapest consumer-friendly solution appears to be from Watts Clever in Australia. They will send me one of their loggers, including shipping, for about 134 NZD. But the data is imprisoned inside the unit. There may be a way to hack the WiFi signal or the data on the unit, but that puts it beyond a consumer solution.
The Belgian Fluxometer, once shipped will set me back around 500 NZD. That’s an amount that would take a number of years to break even on. But it does allow you access to the data, and it is consumer-friendly. Fluxometer is the cheapest way to log data to a computer without having to know how to program or use a soldering iron.
Why doesn’t the Meter Reading Company help?
The amazing thing is that the Meter Reading Company gets a daily data dump from your Smartmeter. It would be so easy to be emailed a file every day with that data inside it.
The only reason we can’t do it is that the the Powers That Be have not considered it, and I suspect it will be hard-fought against. In spite of the data being ours, the company is allowed to not reveal it to you.
Just discovered a solution in between Whats Clever and the Fluxometer.
The (takes a breath) Efergy Engage Hub Online Energy Monitor – Regular.
It comes with an Amp clamp that plugs into a WiFi transmitter. The data goes to the cloud, and you have free access to the Dashboard from any Internet-connected device in the world.
Better, it allows the download of detailed historical electricity consumption data. At 160 NZD plus shipping that would be a solution while we wait for the energy industry to sort out the simplest way: a daily email with your data. Or, web-accessible data, updated daily, allowing downloads.
The only problem with that one is it claims a +/- 10% accuracy. Which I suspect is the case with most amp-clamped readers. (sad face).
Reduction Revolution sells on TradeMe
Time to be impulsive
The most accurate way to read the Smartmeter in a consumer-friendly way is to put an optical sensor on the LED. It flashes once for every 1 watt consumed. That brings us way back round to where this article started…