Does this exist?

I’ve been on an equalized payment plan with my electricity supplier for some time now, but last month I was informed that due to the fact that my meter had been read it was determined that I’m using more power than the previous owners of my house.

Obviously I was not thrilled with this news, but on the other hand, there are four of us as opposed to only 2 people living here before we bought, so it wasn’t all that surprising.

What I’d like to know is:

Is there such a thing as an after-market device that can be connected to your power panel that would measure and report power consumption in real-time?

I’m thinking along the lines of a small display unit somewhere central in the home that would alert you when you’re power consumption is above a preset level.

Seems like something that would be pretty useful…


Um, ya mean like a meter?


Reading a meter is not a hard thing to do. If you have one of those with the rotating disk, time the revolutions per minute. Turn stuff off. Time it again. Repeat as necessary.

Well, yeah like a meter, and yes of course we have one just like every other customer.

But I was thinking more along the lines of a digital device that would output meaningful information to a display panel located say in your kitchen.

I’d like to have the ability to program it in such a way as to be alerted if my consumption is exceeding “X” so that I might make adjustments “on the fly”.

For example: If all the household members regularly assemble in one particular room from 7pm to 11pm, I would have the option of lowering the heat in every other room for that time period.

Just to clarify, the winter temps where I live can drop well below zero from December to March and the impact (if you have electrical heating) can be significant.


UncleBill is spot on that reading the meter isn’t that hard to master; nevertheless, something in the following may be what you’re after.

Some meters you might want to look over.

The ANSI meter.

Maybe Simpson?

Monitor your energy use with SRP M-Power

If you have an electric water heater, it is probably the key to your using more power than the previous owners. More showers, more laundry, and more dish washing add up to more hot water. Heating water is the biggest part of many families’ electricity cost. You can:

  1. Wash some clothes in cold water.
  2. Take “navy showers;” get wet, turn off water, soap yourself, turn the water back on to rinse.
  3. Wrap another layer of glass fiber insulation around the heater. A shocking amount of power is used to reheat water that cooled off while you weren’t using hot water.

It’s a good idea to save energy nevertheless.

For example, installing double windows will save you lots of energy, particularly if you need AC in the summer. Keep the thermostat at 18 degrees centigrade will also save you a lot of energy.