Online energy provider, Click Energy, recently launched an application to help households and SMBs in Victoria to monitor their electricity usage and avoid bill shock.
AskFred is an online application that allows customers with smart meters to view their electricity usage on an hourly basis.
“People can see their usage pattern throughout the day – including spikes and dips – and with that information, they can change their behaviour,” said Pieter Double, Founder and General Manager of Marketing at Click Energy.
In the wake of Winter, AskFred user, Matt Caminiti, received a ‘surprise bill’ almost double the normal amount.
He explained that the application allowed him to pinpoint what caused the electricity to spike – which was his plug-in heater.
“We couldn’t figure out why our electricity bill was so high, so we would experiment and turn off the electricity in each room one at a time, and we realised our heater was chewing up energy. So the great thing about AskFred is that you can knuckle out what time points the electricity spikes,” said Caminiti.
Double said the benefit of saving “will be amplified for small businesses because they typically have a higher dollar spend on their electricity bill.”
He went on to explain that businesses usually have multiple technologies running and so they’re often uncertain about how to reduce their electricity bills without compromising productivity.
“People can only change their behaviour if they have the right information readily and conveniently available to them,” said Double.
The main motivation behind developing this application was that “we wanted to differentiate ourselves, and with the invention of smart meters, we saw this as a great opportunity to increase dialogue with our customers.”
By the end of 2013, all households and businesses in Victoria will have their existing electricity meters replaced with smart meters.
The State Government initiative aims to help energy users find out how much power is being used and when, so energy consumption can be better managed; and help distributors to detect and locate outages, restore supply more quickly and monitor the quality of power supply to help manage the electricity network.
While the smart meter program has not been incorporated by other states in Australia, Double sees it as a possibility.
“It would make sense for other states to install smart meters. The issue is that the costs are upfront but the benefits are longer term,” said Double.
“So it’ll take a little time before the benefits are realised and quantified at a state level. But once that happens, I think other states will also consider a smart meter roll out program.”
Click Energy launched into NSW on the 1st of April, and will expand into other states in the near future.
Their website will soon be offering detailed energy conservation tips as well as an interactive online space for AskFred users to blog about managing energy consumption.