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How DUMB is your Smart Meter?

Chances are pretty good that you’ve heard about utility companies installing what they call a “smart meter.”  You probably have one in your home or business, or might have read or heard about the questions or concerns surrounding these so-called smart meters, or maybe all of sudden your utility bill got unexpectedly high!

But here is the biggest question that everyone should be asking… What has my smart meter done for me lately?

Dumb and Dumber

Let me clarify this whole “smart” thing for you. Your utility company has spent lots of marketing money to tell you that this fancy “smart meter” is there to provide you, the customer, with more energy data. This data also helps them to share (with you) some helpful hints on what we all can do to manage our energy better and thus reduce our bills.

Ohhhhhh! So now we get it! The utilities have installed smart meters as a customer service initiative to help us! Well, that is just so nice of them! Wait a minute… energy data? And whatever happened to that nice meter-reader person that used to come around here and, wait… what was that again about energy data?

So now let me rephrase the question raised before… What has all of that smart meter “big data” done for me lately?

The typical smart meter can tell you how much energy you use every hour. How? Well if you have an inclination, you can go to the trouble (read: not user-friendly) to go online and see those hours in a nice, pretty bar graph. But that’s only if their system allows you to see it or download it! FULL DISCLOSURE – I actually got this message from my utility today when I logged in to see my data: “We’re currently experiencing delays in loading usage data, but we’re working hard to fix this as soon as possible – Thanks for your patience!” Like most of us have the patience to login and figure out where to find this data in the first place!

Alright so let’s say you did figure it out and now you’re logged in and you can see those 1-hour energy-use bars. Did I mention however that those 1-hour increments are from the 24-hour period that was YESTERDAY?! So now you’ve actually taken the time out of your busy day to actually login, find your data and now you have to figure out what you were doing (or not doing) yesterday to consume energy in your home. When did my daily routine become an episode of CSI?


I think most of us would just give up at this point. Moreover, I think most of us don’t even bother to begin with. If you are a glutton for punishment however, why don’t we look for a useful tool? I mean, there’s got to be an app for that right? Well by golly there is! But unfortunately, most folks have never heard of the Obama-sponsored, “Green Button Apps.” But maybe the fighter in you wants to still try? Ok then… you have to first figure out which app to choose, then know how to download the app and link the app to your data from your utility account.

Full Disclosure -again- I actually tried linking my data to one of these apps and got this message: “Retrieving your data can take up to 8 hours, but in most cases we have it within a few minutes.” After 15 minutes of watching that little spinning wheel I got this message: “Oops, something went wrong, we’re having trouble retrieving your electric information. We will continue to looking into the problem and notify you when we know more.”

Ok! We surrender!!

That sure is an awful lot of work for something that we’ve been told was “smart.”   To be fair, these meters are an improvement on “the process” by which utilities collect energy data in a world that understands that we need to save energy — but If you want to really make a dent in your energy use, your home or building needs to become genius.

Car energy monitor

Cars don’t wait 24 hours for data…

To truly get a handle on the energy that YOU are consuming, it’s important to start by measuring your actual energy use as it happens – I’m talking live, real-time monitoring. Start by having an energy expert install a “genius meter” that will send your data to your own personal, easy-to-understand dashboard which is viewable from all of your devices.

You should be able to see how much energy your lights, heating or air conditioning systems and other appliances are using and how much they are each costing you every minute of every day. If you know what those energy-using things are actually costing you, wouldn’t it be easier to make investments and change behaviors to lower those energy costs?

Once you have easy access to the information that truly is smart, you’ll be able to be an “energy avenger” and make intelligent, informed changes that will really make a difference in YOUR home or building. Don’t wait for generic energy-saving tips from your utility or “estimated savings” from so-called smart devices.  REAL measurement will make us smarter and change everything. That’s where change will begin for you.

Got more questions/comments? Shoot an email to info@energtechexperts.com or leave a comment below. We’re looking forward to it!





My First Blog Post (Frank would be proud)

“The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.” - Frank Sinatra

Everyone who has anything to do with business, the web, marketing, yada, yada, yada, has been telling me I need to write a blog.  If I truly want to start “spreading the news” about me, what I do, my start-up company and this energy-efficiency-technology consulting thing that I have jumped in to, I need to start talking about it.

"Start Spreading The News"

“Start Spreading The News”

Lord knows that I can talk… sometimes it’s hard to get me to stop.  I’ve also been told (by former bosses and others) that I write very well and that I am good at getting my point across in emails, letters, etc.  Little did they know that many of those emails were edited over and over and over again to make them succinct (<—–expert bloggers, is that how you do that or is there an app?)  This is part of the reason that I haven’t jumped into blog writing.  I want to edit, then edit, then edit it again until I think it’s perfect.  Being that I am a musician as well and have recorded and written songs, the process associated with writing music has also taken up a lot of time.  I have a lot of half-finished, or one-liner type of songs “in the can.”

It took me forever to get on Facebook only because I didn’t feel I wanted everyone to know everything about me.  I was an early adopter of Twitter but tweeting at an interesting pace got old (and a bit tiresome).  Linkedin I thought was just for finding jobs (and was using as such until this venture actually started making me some money) and blogging I was told, was “one more thing I had to do.”  Social media, social media, social media, social media ahhhhhh!

I attended a seminar a couple of weeks ago about social media however and learned that although it takes some effort, it doesn’t seem to be THAT hard.  I figured I needed to make it fun for me because I am truly having fun in this start-up business that I started.  So even if no one is reading this right now, here I go…

I’ve started this business.  I’ve become a consultant.  My company is called EnerGtech Experts. And in the past few years I have learned a LOT about energy efficiency and a believer that technology will take over the energy sector to improve our lives (much like I lived through it in the music business).  These are exciting times because I’m living and seeing the change take place.  When I actually sit down with clients, explain our technologies and then help them save $1,000’s of dollars on their energy bills, people seem to be interested in what I have to say and I’m excited about teaching them and sharing with them “the secrets” I’ve learned.

I hope this blog will provide some insight, some education, some inspiration, some energy savings, a healthier environment, some cool technology discoveries and maybe a laugh or two as well (if not from you well then from me – I think I’m pretty damn hilarious – my family just rolls their eyes).  I’ve got some good topics coming – please stay tuned!

FACTS (Interesting or Not):  Frank Sinatra and I share the same Birth Date – December 12th.

Like Frank, I also sing – listen to my music at www.brentlocke.com (it’s an old site but the streaming player works!).

This Blog took me about an hour to complete and I only revised it 15 times (hopefully that will get faster – sheesh).