Electricity and gas consumption at a glance


Harald Schäffler,
Project Manager,
Freiburg, Germany — (METERING.COM) — April 10, 2008 – With the support of the Fraunhofer Application Center System Technology AST, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have come up with a solution that enables customers to keep track of their current electricity and gas consumption at all times. The EWE Box was developed in collaboration with Oldenburg-based energy provider EWE.

“The days of ‘stupid’ meters are over,” says ISE project manager Dr. Harald Schäffler. “The new metering technologies are intelligent. The EWE Box is an innovative communication gateway that records and saves the readings from the electricity and gas meters and transmits them to a control center via DSL.

“This allows the power provider to offer the customer individual pricing models, depending on factors such as the load, the time of day or the time of year,” explains Schäffler.

The researchers have developed a special LCD display so that users themselves can always keep tabs on their energy consumption and benefit from the various pricing models. The EWE Box constantly transmits the measured values by radio to the display, which shows the current power usage in real time. If the user switches on a ‘power-guzzling’ device, the effects can immediately be seen on the display. Also displayed are the hourly and daily totals for electricity and gas consumption, costs and CO2 emissions.

Customers can also view their stored power consumption data via a personal Internet access and receive a monthly power consumption and cost analysis, plus a forecast of their probable annual energy costs in future. In this way, users themselves are in control of their energy management, and saving becomes easy.

The system will be tested by EWE in May as part of a field test involving 400 private households in the Oldenburg area. The ISE and the AST will support and monitor the experiment and evaluate the results.