In the US, in-home intelligence company Sense has developed technology for smart meters that gives consumers more visibility and control of their household energy usage, and now it is set to come to Australia.
The artificial intelligence (AI) smart-meter technology uses machine-learning algorithms to monitor domestic electricity usage for appliances in real time.
Sense’s technology zeroes in on household energy management through device disaggregation, which uses AI and data analysis to separate whole-home electricity usage into device-specific consumption.
Given the volatility of the Australian electricity network in 2022 – especially on the back of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) suspending trading and temporarily taking over the National Electricity Market in June, combined with skyrocketing energy prices and potential power cuts – anything that gives households more control in managing their power usage is welcomed by consumers, especially during periods when they are being asked to reduce consumption or switch to off-peak periods.
In September 2021, the Australian Energy Market Commission released a directions paper that revealed only 25 per cent of households in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and ACT have a smart meter installed. It stated the importance of digital smart meters in future grid management and recommended their accelerated rollout in Australia.
Having a smart meter installed means that if the AEMO or utility providers put out a call to reduce power usage during periods of high demand, households know exactly what appliances to turn down and can possibly avoid a blackout.
“The highest consuming discretionary devices can be identified and consumers are able to turn off appliances that have the greatest immediate impact on load without disrupting their lives,” says Michael Jary, Sense managing director, international.
“Consumers are not left to work it out themselves and don’t end up sitting in the dark [because of a blackout].”
The company says a study has shown that Sense-enabled homes are able to shift 4.5 times more load than homes that don’t have the device.
The Sense AI smart meter technology is expected to hit the Australian market in early 2023.