The previous owners of our house were meticulous on a huge number of fronts. When they moved out, they left us a drawer full of manuals, with stickie noted reminders here and there to indicate things we should do, people we should call, and when we ought to do it.
I absolutely adore them for that. It's funny how fondly I think of them to be honest. Though, I suppose, since this house was a custom design of their planning and approval, in a very real way we owe the beauty of this place to them.
I digress. Above you see one thing they left in a drawer, along with a note taped across it that said "This didn't work for us -- the battery life was too short". For the first three or four weeks we ignored it, as I continuously made plans to buy batteries, and kept forgetting. About two weeks ago though, I finally remembered, and loaded some batteries into the sensor ring, installed on the power meter outside. Since then, this meter has been sitting on one of our kitchen counters, giving us real-time feedback on our power usage.
What a fascinating thing to see!
Perhaps I'm slow, but seeing my power consumption in real-time has been a fantastically educational thing. Concepts that were largely hypothetical suddenly have a real weight.
Take for example, the humble microwave. Seeing one's power consumption jump by 1kWh really hammers home exactly the thousand Watts of a 1000W microwave! Similarly, noticing the power jump on the meter as Andrea boots our desktop computer is a reminder that everything we turn on takes power -- it's just a question of rate.
The local meter we have (and I haven't yet determined if the battery life will be a huge issue for us) is great for instantaneous power information. It also aggregates the total number of kWh consumed, and has a montly cycle built in, as well as the ability to program in the cost of power, as well as awareness of peak/off-peak pricing differences. However, I haven't used almost any of the advanced features, because it turns out Hydro Ottawa has a pretty fantastic app.
The app provides a very reasonable dashboard to your monthly costs, including a projection, and summary of where your power usage came from. There are more screens that I didn't screenshot, where they show what fraction of your consumption happened at the different power prices, as well as the temperature -- so you can relate your power usage to temperature.
All in all, I have to say, all of this data about our consumption has been pretty fascinating. I fully expect that come winter I'm going to be hugely irritated that I don't have this granular data about my gas bill.