If you’re anything like me, you have a slew of gadgets and a large electric bill. So when Black and Decker came out with their Power Monitor, I knew that this device was going to help raise awareness on how electricity was being used in my house. In order to use this, you will need access to your electric meter and a copy of your electric bill. You first mount the sensor around your electric meter and position the optical scanner correctly which can be difficult, especially with older meters. This took me a while, but I finally got it but it could prove to be your downfall if you have an incompatible meter.
To read the current power usage the device either “scans” the rotating wheel inside your meter or connects to the optical port. If you have a considerably older meter the sensor can’t read the rotation and will fail. There are a few fixes they suggest but none of them worked on John’s meter. It did, however, work on my meter.
You then set up the receiver by first binding it to the sensor module and then entering some information from your electric bill.
This part seems a bit involved, but really wasn’t so bad – looked a lot more complicated for those with tiered electrical billing. The $100 kit displays time, inside temperature, cost per hour and total cost (since last reset).
In the end, I found out that I’m using around 30 cents per hour on average, so I removed a few light bulbs, turned off the monitor, TV and extra lights. Now my house is dark and I bump into things a lot, but I reduced my power consumption by two thirds. Now you too can do your part to support a greener planet. I need to get me some candles.