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New device allows monitoring of home electricity usage

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September 6, 2003

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Sunday September 7, 2003 A finalist in Yellowpages Business Ideas Grants 2003, CENT-A-METER is a new consumer product that displays the cost of electricity being used on a portable easy-to-read, portable LCD monitor inside the home. Developed primarily as an education tool for promoting energy consumption and greenhouse gas reduction, it was discovered along the way that the device had a very useful secondary effect - the capacity to save up to 25% on the electricity bill.

Sunday September 7, 2003: A finalist in Yellowpages Business Ideas Grants 2003, Centameter is a new consumer product that displays the cost of electricity being used on a portable easy-to-read, portable LCD monitor inside the home.Sunday September 7, 2003 A finalist in Yellowpages Business Ideas Grants 2003, CENT-A-METER is a new consumer product that displays the cost of electricity being used on a portable easy-to-read, portable LCD monitor inside the home. Developed primarily as an education tool for promoting energy consumption and greenhouse gas reduction, it was discovered along the way that the device had a very useful secondary effect - the capacity to save up to 25% on the electricity bill.

The portable monitor receives a wireless signal from a sensor located in the electricity meter box and displays information on how much it costs to operate electrical appliances so that households can learn to become more energy efficient and SOHO business operators can estimate the proportion of cost of the household energy bill attributable to operating office equipment as opposed to domestic appliances (though it is not an accumulation revenue meter and cannot check your energy bill).

In addition to power consumption, the device includes a greenhouse gas mode that calculates the effect of emissions in terms of tons per year (depending on whether you are buying clean electricity or dirty electricity) and an indoor comfort level displaying temperature and humidity.

Home safety is also given a boost by the ability to tell if there are any electrical devices (heaters, stoves etc) left on when you leaving. The CENT-A-METER can also be used as a "speedo" to monitor your use, enabling you to set a limit of 5 Kw for example (this is the equivalent to a jug and a toaster and normal lighting plus hotwater service) and stick to that level by switching appliances on and off according as you use them.

According to Paul Gladwin, who researched and developed Ross Halliwell's original idea for the CENT-A-METER, using the device in this way also assists in making sure peak loads stay lower and blackouts don't occur. An alarm that activates if the pre-set level is exceeded is also available to assist this process.

Winner of Australian Museum EUREKA award for Industry 2003 as well as a National finalist for Yellowpages Business Ideas Grants 2003,Clipsal are retailing the CENT-A-METER from November 2003 for AUD$150 plus a $50 for installation by a licensed electrician.

In terms of ROI, it's therefore possible to get the cost of the unit back well within 12 months in an average household, not to mention the wide ranging environmental benefits that flow from the monitoring and educational aspects of CENT-A-METER.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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