MeterPlug gets the electric bill under control with mobile tracking


Already nearing half of the $70,000 funding goal on Indiegogo with six weeks to go, a group called Live Easy Technologies is developing a new type of electrical plug that feeds consumption data to a smartphone application over Bluetooth. Called the MeterPlug, the user installs the plug at a standard electrical outlet and plugs an appliance, home theater device or basically anything that requires electricity into the MeterPlug outlet. As data is collected over time, the user will be able to see how much money is being spent to power devices within the home. 

MeterPlug mobile applicationWhen a user views the live streaming data from the MeterPlug on their iOS or Android smartphone, they will be able to see information such as line voltage, live current, live consumption, hourly consumption of power and the cost of that consumption per hour.

The user can also set alerts that will notify the user when the cost gets too high. Since electricity costs different prices at various times of the day within most states, the user can modify their behavior to use electricity during cheaper times of the day in order to save money on the upcoming electric bill. 

The application also offers a cost analysis for the last hour, day, week, month or year for each device plugged into a MeterPlug. For instance, the MeterPlug could give you an idea how much money the DVR in the living room is costing you since it has to stay on all day. Even when a device is turned completely off, it could be adding to the power bill due to what the development team called “Vampire Power.” 

Within the project details, the team indicates that an advanced gaming system like a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 costs the average American household an additional $220 per year due to the 170 watts of “Vampire Power” consumed at all times during the day. A user could also combine a single MeterPlug with a power strip in order to see how much an entire home theater system is costing in “Vampire Power.”

MeterPlug world versionsThe developers have included an option to detect devices that continue to consume power when turned off and use the “Vampire Power Shield” to cut the power being fed from the MeterPlug.

There’s also an option to turn the power on and off with a proximity control. Conceptually, if a person walks away from the plug with their smartphone, the MeterPlug will automatically turn off the devices in the room. Lights could be automatically turned on and off as the user walks from room to room within a home. In addition, the developers have included a manual option to turn off any device within 100 feet of the MeterPlug directly from the smartphone application. 

The Live Easy Technologies group is currently working on three versions of the plug for North America, European countries and the United Kingdom as well as Hong Kong. The mobile application is free and allows as many pairings of the MeterPlug as the user wants within a home. While early investors can get the first batch of MeterPlugs as cheap as $45, the group plans to sell the device at retail for $59.95. All hardware and software has been finalized and the group plans to ship the first batch of MeterPlugs by April 2013. In addition, they will be showing off working models of the MeterPlug at CES in Las Vegas next month.

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