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Crosbie Fitch

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Jul 7, 2009, 8:18:38 AM7/7/09
to Design and Behaviour
In case it's helpful I'll quickly offer my perspective as to what a
smart electricity meter should do (which may well repeat or concur
with ideas in others' more painstaking considerations).

Tell me the money, not the fricking units. I don't actually care how
much energy I use, how much I pollute or heat the planet, I care about
what it costs my bottom line.

Tell me what I don't know, not what I do.

I know how big my bills are.
I know how much I spend on average per day/month/year (or will find
out in an occasional summary report).

So, a display has to remove what I expect in the figures by
adjustment:
Seasonally adjust (temperature factors)
Weekly adjust (weekend patterns)
Daily adjust (domestic patterns)

What I want to readily see on a meter is what's unusual or abnormal -
what I don't know and want a meter to tell me.

1) You are currently consuming 10p/min more than usual (£x/day, £x/
month, £x/year) [compared with seasonal, monthly, and daily adjusted
consumption].

2) The five most recent significant changes in actual consumption are
as follows:

11am consumption increased by 10p/min
10am consumption decreased by 5p/min
9:50am consumption increased by 1p/min
9am consumption decreased by 7p/min
8am consumption increased by 15p/min

3) You spent £x more/less in the last 24 hours/week/month/12months
than usual (for this time of week/year/ever).

4) Each consumption event is colour coded to rank in abnormality
compared to the typical variance on consumption changes for the time
of day. Thus a small change (hairdryer) at 3am may be coded highly
abnormal whereas it would take a very large change (pizza oven) to
rank so highly in a normally busy time of day.

I want to see at a glance the recent consumption events that warrant
my attention. Possibly audible beeps for major changes. Even an
optional coin chinking background sound settable according to each £n
of consumption (or just excess consumption: a 10p coin drop sound for
every 10p consumed above average).

A special sound for 'maximum adjusted consumption level is currently
being recorded'.

5) Background (min/max) and total consumption levels warrant secondary
consideration, perhaps in summary reports.

6) I guess the meter needs modes according to task, the objective of
the user.
a) Continuous monitoring (normal mode)
b) Summary report
c) Estimation (predicting bills given recent consumption reduction/
increase - guests moving in/kids moving out/change to gas). Computing
amount of direct debit monthly payment.
d) Consumption minimisation (assists with that rare task of turning
everything off and then determining how much each class of device
consumes vs how essential it is vs how careful one needs to be to turn
it off when not needed)
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