Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Introducing AlertMe Energy with Google and British Gas

Today we're pleased to announce the launch of AlertMe Energy, in partnership with Google and British Gas. AlertMe Energy allows you to monitor and control your home’s overall energy usage. It’s simple to use and install, providing an affordable way to keep track of your total electricity usage and make easy changes to save money and reduce your energy bills.

All you have to do is clip the AlertMe Meter Reader onto your electricity meter, and install the AlertMe hub. Your energy usage is then available on the AlertMe online dashboard so you always have access to up-to-the-minute information about your home's electricity usage from your mobile phone or internet browser.

We're really excited that AlertMe Energy is the first self-install device to work with Google PowerMeter to provide consumers with easy access to their energy data. This means that AlertMe Energy customers can keep an eye on their electricity usage directly from their iGoogle homepage, without logging into AlertMe, making it even simpler to monitor your electricity use and reduce your carbon footprint as well as your bills.

AlertMe Energy is available to buy right now from the AlertMe online store for just £69, plus a £2.99 monthly subscription. We’ve also teamed up with British Gas, and you can buy AlertMe Energy for just £99, including 12 months subscription for the price of 10, by calling 0800 1070187.

We’re really excited to be launching AlertMe Energy and we hope it’ll help you to save energy, save money and do your bit to help save the planet. Watch our videos on YouTube (www.alertme.com/youtube) to find out more about how AlertMe Energy can help you to connect with your house and manage your energy, or see how you can make a difference to climate change with AlertMe.

To learn more about Google PowerMeter, visit www.google.org/powermeter.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

How to stop your electricity bill increasing

With all the talk about recession and the credit crunch it’d be nice to know that your energy bills weren’t going to soar in the future, but unfortunately that’s not the case. According to a recent report published by Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator, on energy security (whether the current infrastructure can continue to reliably supply the energy we need) and what the costs to consumers will be, energy prices are set to soar by up to 60%.

The report looked at four scenarios in which economic recovery and environmental action could be either rapid or slow. In all four scenarios, demand for electricity rose slightly, and by 2020 consumer bills rose by 16% to 40%. However if the economy recovers more slowly and environmental action is also slow, consumer bills could peak at more than 60% above their current levels in 2017.

In other words, whatever happens it looks as though our electricity (and gas) bills will rise in the coming years. So what can you do?

Well the Ofgem report assumes that demand will remain more or less constant, and of course you can control how much electricity you use so if you reduce your home’s electricity usage by 16%-40% over the next 10 years then in 2020 your bill should be lower than it is today.

For most households, reducing electricity consumption by 40% is a tough challenge, but reducing consumption by 20% or even more should not be hard to achieve. A report by Sarah Darby for DEFRA found from a range of studies that consumers were able to reduce their consumption by between 5 and 15% simply by having feedback on how much electricity they were consuming. Another study, that provided consumers with more detailed feedback on their electricity usage achieved savings of up to 55%.

AlertMe Energy can help you reduce your energy usage and therefore help to save money on your energy bills. The system not only provides feedback on how much energy you're using, but also offers personalised advice and detailed analysis to help you understand exactly what you could do to keep your electricity bills down. Our plans for AlertMe Energy are ambitious, and as each new feature rolls out over the coming months, we expect our customers to see their electricity bills fall more and more. And the more you reduce your electricity usage, the less CO2 is being pumped into the atmosphere, so you can do your bit for the environment as well as your wallet.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Pilgrim in the Sunday Times

It was great to see AlertMe's founders in an article in yesterday's Sunday Times. It explains how customers can use AlertMe hardware and online services on their computer or mobile phone, to see exactly how much energy they are using — in pounds and pence, and then use this information to adjust the way they use their appliances. You can read the article here:


Thursday, 8 October 2009

Not so Scilly

The Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall, have an unusual property that made them perfect for an energy reduction experiment: they have just a single cable coming from the mainland that supplies all the electricity to the islands, having only been connected to the national grid in 1998. As a result, monitoring how much electricity the islands are using is relatively straightforward.

This led environmentalist Dr Matt Prescott to choose to use the islands in an experiment to see how far people could reduce their energy consumption. He created E-Day: a single day (October 6th, 2009) on which the people of the Scilly Islands would do their best to reduce their consumption of electricity.

After the event, the results seem rather underwhelming. The overall use of electricity by the islands was just 1.2% lower than expected. This can be partially explained by bad weather, but it does seem surprising that a concerted effort could not lead to a greater reduction.

In fact, however, there is more to it than this. One family, for example, managed to reduce their consumption (which was being separately measured) by a whopping 50.3%. What did they have that no-one else had? This family had a device measuring the consumption of their home, and a display so they could see how much they were consuming.

It's one thing to ask people to switch things off and save electricity, but if you provide them with direct feedback and a way to assess how much they're using and the impact of their actions, then they're much more likely to succeed. This is what AlertMe Energy is all about: empowering people with knowledge about the way they use electricity and giving them guidance about how to reduce it.