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Home » Energy saving

Syncing an electricity monitor to your computer

Submitted by on Monday, 25 April 2011 Loading Add to favourites  One Comment

onzo-electricity-monitor-computer-readoutLast week I shared my review on what it was like to live with the Onzo electricity monitor for a week.

The Onzo monitors and learns your current energy use pattern and, after a week, sets you personal daily household targets to help you reduce consumption and cost.

The display can be shown in power or cost view.

In “Power Now” view you’ll see, second by second how much power your household is using. In addition, you’ll be shown how much power you have used so far in the day (this is automatically reset at midnight) and a daily target.

In “Cost view” you’ll see how much your energy is costing you second by second, along with the amount you have spent on any particular day (resets at midnight) and your daily target.

Reduce electricity use

The Onzo takes all the guess work out of reducing electricity consumption. If you are likely to exceed your daily target, there is a warning symbol to give you the chance to go and turn things off and see if you can salvage your day! You’ll also see if your electricity usage is particularly high compared to your normal pattern and you’ll be shown if you are managing to keep to your household’s ‘base load’ (this is set up when you first start using your monitor and is based on your average yearly consumption).

Save money on electricity

For Cost view, the figures are shown in pounds and pence. In the main display area, Onzo shows you how much you have spent on electricity so far this week. The two other figures show your personalised weekly cost target and how much you spent last week. Again, the Energy Tools will warn you if Onzo predicts that you may exceed your weekly target, prompting energy saving action.

Synch your electricity monitor

In addition to the monitor readings, you can synch your monitor to the computer to get some data. Setting up your Onzo to start talking to your computer is very straight forward.

Here’s what you do:

Login to My Onzo
Enter a few details about the type of house you have, how you heat it and your annual energy consumption
Connect the meter to your computer via a USB cable
Download and run the ‘Onzo uploader’ programme (this took all of 12 seconds)
Enter details of your tariff and upload your first set of readings

Logging in

I logged in after 5 days of usage and was shown the following information:

How much energy I’ve used so far (67 kwh)
Top tip : Use blinds or net curtains in the day time to retain privacy and let in light, rather than keeping your curtains closed
What I could have used my weekly kilowatts for (19 loads of washing apparently)
Graph of daily energy usage which shows peaks and troughs throughout a 24 hour period
Community savings (how much ‘we’ have saved – not sure who ‘we’ is!)

onzo-electricity-monitor-synch-computer

Reducing electricity

On the ‘learn’ tab I can see that other families with a house my size have used, on average 171 units in the last 7 days and we’ve used 67. To be fair, I’ve only used the monitor for 5 1/2 days when I plug it in, so I have an unfair advantage, but it looks like we’re still below average, which, to be honest, I would expect.

You also get to view your daily usage which over time will develop a pattern of energy usage. I can easily see that since I’ve started using the monitor I’ve used the following:

Day 1 Tuesday 12 (monitor arrived mid morning)
Day 2 wed 15
Day 3 thus 15
Day 4 Fri 10
Day 5 Sat 13

Good

Simple login – sent to you via email

New hardware is installed and ready to use in no time at all – less than 15 seconds

Easy to use with three large tabs at the top of the screen called ‘explore’, ‘learn’ and ‘save’

Attractive online displays – you see graphs and charts which are easy on the eye and simple to understand.

Bad

When I first logged in I was told “the page you’re looking for has not been found” which was confusing as I hadn’t requested a page. It’s easy to rectify though, just look for the “Getting started” tab from the menu at the top of the page.

The ‘top tips’ are pretty lame. For example we’re told to use a brush rather a vacuum and to use blinds or net curtains rather than keeping curtains closed. I think Onzo could come up with better than that.

Verdict

If you’re looking for a programme where less is more, the Onzo ticks all the boxes. The information given to you when you log in and sync your devise is simple to understand and shows you trends which can help you monitor your electricity consumption in the future.

The top tips could definitely be improved as they are not particularly inspiring or realistic.

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One Comment »

  • Andy says:

    If you get your electric from Scottish and Southern then you can get one of these Onzo monitors for free by signing up to the iPlan option to some of their tarrifs. That’s how I got mine. I believe they don’t offer them with dual rate tarrifs as the display of cost in £ would be wrong – however the display of units used would be just as accurate and in my opinion the Onzo just as useful in saving energy.