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Saying Hi from the US

Hi saying hello. Seems there’s a lot to dig into here. I’ll be reading all the great material you folks have made available.

So my background

I’m on standard grid electricity now but am very serious about solar, so whatever I set up now will be part of the transition to solar in the next year or so. I’ve even considered building my own solar system, including solar panels, based on products available on the market. Before I jump into that I want a good fix on my current electrical loads.

I’m in the US and was looking to setup a home electricity monitoring system package. But my choices have been dismal. Either look to a big outfit with big fees, or look to small time operations with questionable hardware/software. Part of my interest was sparked by my ongoing fight with my power utility who relentlessly overbills me. In 2018 I recovered around $1,500 US from my utility company for overbilling.

I’m not an engineer, but I know this stuff is not super difficult. I’m an architect, do my own remodeling and wired my own house. Plus I have a little background in the electronic/signals industries. So, my goal is to cobble together some basic monitoring hardware with a good software package to log my usage data.

That’s it. Thanks.

Hello to you, Nathan, and welcome to the OEM forum.

A couple of things to point out if you haven’t picked them up already - OEM is UK-based (Wales to be precise) so everything we do tends to have a bias towards the UK electricity supply system. But that only means that a few things aren’t perfectly tailored to your system, and they won’t present much of a problem. We have very many users in the US.

We’ve tried to give an outline of the differences between your system and ours (in the ‘Learn’ section), and that was put together with a great deal of input from @Bill.Thomson, who is an Electronics Technician living in Oklahoma. His professional experience and knowledge should be invaluable to you.

That experience isn’t the first, unfortunately. Some years ago we helped another customer recover a significant sum from his electricity provider too: SCT-013-000 very confused!.

If you’re in any doubt about anything, do ask. It’s far better to ask early on than head off down the wrong route.

Hi Robert,

Yes, I did pick up the ‘UK connection’. No prob. Electricity is a universal language :blush:. I assumed there will be some differences which I’m not really worried about, so I’ll look for the material you mentioned. Now that I know about you guys I’ll be on your site quite a bit.

My primary focus is to start logging my usage data, export to Excel, etc., so I don’t have to manually read my meter every day. I’ve been very successful in getting refunds, but this issue results from the power company trying to force me to change my meter type. I have a legal right to keep my meter, and there are thousands of other people in Southern California that I’m sure have the same meter. Who knows how many $1,000’s have been overpaid. I have all my documentation that I have filed with our government utility watchdog, but I’m considering a class action lawsuit to expose their overbilling practices, which would force a massive refund. I’m sure it would it would help some lower income people.

A lot rides on documentation. Once I get that going, I’ll transition to solar which I want to keep track of as well.

It’s interesting, that while trying to find a complete monitoring package here in the US/Canada, I stumbled on a number of rather inexpensive industrial products like a ‘Power and Energy Meter’ from ‘Square D’ a Schneider-Electric.Com, a US manufacturer of electrical equipment. I thought: I’ll bet it has a data port - I don’t know what language it speaks, but I bet I could rig a remote interface to it. There’s lots of other products like that, which are typically the domain electrical engineers, who know how to piece them together and get them to talk to each other, then I ran into you guys.

I wonder if I know Bill Thompson you are talking about – I live 20 minutes away from Irvine, and I know a guy by that name. :blush: So I’m really looking forward to seeing what you guys have.

Thanks again,

Nathan

There are meters that you can wire in - that might not be a disadvantage to you, or it might be illegal where you are - and although I don’t personally know the details of importing their data, there are people here who do. The advantage of one of those over a pair of current transformers is the calibration is guaranteed to about the same standard as your supplier’s meter. If you are getting into legal fisticuffs, that could be to your advantage.

That’s not too far from where I was born and raised (San Diego area) but if the guy you know is
Bill Thompson, then it’s definitely not me, as I’m Bill Thomson. :grin: