You can’t even buy a TV these days without the manufacturer ramming its eco credentials down your goggled eyes.
But it’s not just fashionable to be eco-conscious; it’s right. Oh, and it can save you money – let’s face it, that’s reason enough to watch your Wattage.
The AlertMe Meter Reader follows a similar ethos to the DIY Kyoto Wattson we’ve been banging on about for years. Like the Wattson, it has two main parts: a transmitter and receiver.
Meet your meter
Now, setting up is both the AlertMe’s triumph and its downfall.
It’s great because it’s so simple; it’s not so great because if you live in a block of flats and can’t get to your electricity meter, you’re up eco creek with nothing but a bunch of aerosols to fight the tide.
Once you’ve been through the simple set-up, you’re all set to track that energy usage. A superb online dashboard gives a user-friendly swing-o-meter, backed up by a little house image that’s either smiling or crying, depending on how you’re doing.
Penny-pinchers will be pleased to see exactly how much their electricity has cost them that day, and whether that’s more or less than expected (by percentage).
For more in-depth analysis of your power consumption, the History section takes you to a line graph where you can track it over variable time periods.
Oh what fun you can have running round the house to see what you can switch off and what difference it makes to your current Wattage.
Sending out an SOS
Among the other clever features on offer are the alerts you’ll get to your mobile and email addresses if, for instance, the receiver stops getting a signal from the transmitter. And given that the transmitter runs off batteries – two bloody big D-types – that’s going to happen at some point.
Another great thing – and for some this will be a deal clincher – is the ability to pair up your AlertMe account with Google PowerMeter, so you can get a quick update via the PowerMeter widget on your iGoogle page.
Aside from the need to access your meter in the first place, the main downside of the AlertMe Meter Reader is the cost. The initial £70 isn’t bad, but then paying a £2.99 subscription charge each month may be galling for some.