PowerWatch, Canada , an energy monitoring systems maker, recently signed a deal in India that will help hundreds of thousands of people conserve electricity.
According to reports, the company signed a deal to begin a rollout of its product to some of the 10 million residential customers with North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL). The rollout will be phased in, starting with 100,000 customers, followed by another 100,000 and so on.
“It’s section by section, but we have a large phase rollout planned for all of North Delhi Power,” said PowerWatch co-owner and CEO Janeen Stodulski.
Stodulski said she is unsure how many of NDPL customers will eventually get her company’s monitoring system.
“I hope they put it in all of the residential facilities in all of the areas,” she said. I’d like to get all of India in total, all of the utility companies. We’re also looking at Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and then from there we’re going to look at Brazil. But right now, we’re focusing on India because it is one of the fastest growing economic markets. We’re focusing on Delhi and then Mumbai, which is known as Bombay.”
…The monitoring system allows users to see their electricity usage and cost in real time. It is a two-piece device, one being installed on the electric meter, which sends a wireless signal to the other device, an iPad preloaded with monitoring software. The iPad displays how much electricity is being used and what it is costing. It has information such as how much an electric bill is so far and how much it will be at the usage rate and more.
She said this knowledge leads people to reduce between five and 10 per cent of their electricity costs.
“Really, by turning things off, not sitting watching TV with 20 lights on in the home, people actually reduce,” she said.
“People start to see it and they’re like ‘Oh my God, how much is that costing me? What did that just cost’. And it’s funny. It becomes addictive. When you first get it in your home, people run around and they turn everything on. They want to see ‘How high can I go?’ But when I leave my house I know it should not be more than 400 watts, if it is something is on, something that should not be on is on.”
This is very important technology in India, said Stodulski, because half of electricity use is stolen. People literally take power cables from people’s roofs and from hydro lines and use it for themselves. This technology allows people to monitor their electric use and in turn become aware of it being taken elsewhere.
She said the technology does not reduce power use, but it has the potential of changing people’s use.
“Everyone is all for technology, and believe me, we are all about technology. But the second factor has to be human behavioural change and you can’t change your behaviour if you don’t know what it is,” she said.
She said if something is out of sight, it is out of mind. That’s why the iPad is dedicated to constantly showing power usage data.
“When I’m in my home, I need to see what I’m doing when I’m there,” she said. “I’m not going to walk over to my computer and log on. I provide that capability, it’s there. Our technology allows you to do that. But it’s that tablet, that display, that module is right there whether its kept on your table near the front door, whether its in your kitchen. . . it’s right there in your face.”
The technology allows people to log on with their computers or smartphones via the internet to get the results, but she said that is not as effective.
Just the last couple of days there have been reports in the media (Read: here and here ) of smart metering companies being acquired/funded in the US. Interesting that the second company mentioned there also has an opt out model with a tie up with the utilities. This should also find a lot of interest in India, as the power for residential customer is being subsidized in most states in India.
Just a few days ago, Panchabuta had talked about the first pilot project of Smart Grid technology to be piloted by the distribution utility Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) in its operating zone of Electronic City-Bangalore, India.