Making Smart-Meter Stats Even More Accessible

People could pay more attention to energy data if it's displayed alongside personal photos in a digital frame.
by | September 8, 2011 AT 3:30 PM

Thanks to the introduction of smart meters, people can go online to track how much energy they’re using and how much that costs. But if people don’t take the time to check their smart meters, the technology’s potential for lowering energy usage and bills is lost. Glendale, Calif., may have found a solution to this problem: Post the energy data somewhere people can’t miss it, like a digital frame. Glendale Water & Power teamed up with a private manufacturer to develop a digital frame that displays not just a person’s photos but also their home’s electricity and water usage in real-time, reports the Los Angeles Times. For example, Jim Sepe, the frame manufacturer’s chief technology officer, showed the Times how turning on the air conditioner prompted an immediate increase in the amount he was spending on electricity -- from 13 cents to 94 cents per hour. If the pilot program is successful, it’s expected to become permanent early next year -- at which time the free digital frames would start to carry a monthly fee, according to NBC Los Angeles.