Get a Grip on Your Electricity Consumption with the Blue Line PowerCost Monitor.

Energy monitoring can be a powerful tool to reduce your home's electricity consumption, help you save money on utility bills and limit your impact on the environment.  Energy Circle's experience in energy monitoring has been backed by research that demonstrates the effectiveness of energy monitoring. By increasing consciousness of energy consumption, monitoring can induce behavioral changes that can save a family somewhere in the ballpark of 15% of their monthly electricity bill. 

One simple, energy saving product that is sometimes overlooked is the Blue Line PowerCost Monitor.  The Blue Line is an extremely affordable (just over 100 bucks), easy to install, wireless, real-time energy monitor that tells you not only how much energy your house is using at any given moment, but also how much that electricity is costing you, per hour, at that moment. Consisting of two parts -- an optical sensor that you attach to your electric meter, and a handy wireless display -- the Blue Line is a practical way to get a grip on your home's energy consumption.

What's more, Blue Line has recently switched to a new model of the PowerCost Monitor.  While the price is the same, and all the great features of the original PowerCost Monitor have stayed, the BLI-28000 model has some cool new features, namely:

  • An appliance tab to help you zero in on the energy consumption of a specific appliance.  Here's how it works: you press the appliance function and the monitor "zeros out" your baseline usage. You then turn on the appliance you're targeting and you'll get a reading for that specific appliance, minimizing number-crunching on your part.
  • A predictive feature: when you press the "total/est" toggle, the PowerCost 28000 monitor provides you with an estimated monthly electricity bill based on the info since the latest reset. This is a very cool feature that helps a user wrap his/her head around the real impact of what may appear to be a low momentary reading.
  • A sleep function: in older models of the PowerCost monitor, if the sensor and the display temporarily lost connectivity, the device would run its battery down by searching extra hard for the signal. In the Blue Line 28000, if the sensor and display lose connectivity the monitor goes into sleep mode automatically. A simple press of the button will wake it right up. 
  • Expanded kH factor compatibility: the PowerCost BLI 28000 accommodates kH factors from 0.1 to 99, to ensure compatibility with high-load homes.

The Blue Line PowerCost Monitor is a highly effective, highly affordable device, and we're psyched about the new features. While it doesn't have the handy data-storing capacity of TED 5000 with Google PowerMeter, or the circuit-by-circuit precision of the PowerHouse Dynamics eMonitor, it's a great product, and one that you can be sure will help you save energy, save money, and reduce your environmental impact. Cheers to that.

Check out our video featuring the PowerCost Monitor (sadly, the model shown is the old one) that guides you through installation and gives you a neat visual of just how cool this product really is:




1 - neat idea, but with an optical sensor, how well does it work with the new digital meters?

2 - The appliance feature assumes that there are no other varying loads while checking the appliance usage - but with a furnace cycling, two refrigerators, a freezer, sump pump, well pump ..... Well, you get the idea, it is not necessarily easy to isolate a single appliance without disconnecting all varying loads except the one you are measuring.

So ok, there is no global warming. So what happens to all the pollution from the factories and vehicles? Absorbed by trees and turn into apples?

I am a lover of energy monitors, but I think this is missing one vital thing - PC connectivity.

I have been using the Current Cost energy monitor and I graph my use to look at trends, see how my home is behaving when I'm out. And, I'm about to embark on home automation using the Envi.

There's a big online community of geeks playing around with energy monitors and comparing use online. Are they missing a trick?

Peter Troast's picture

In response to the PC connectivity point, I'm personally in your camp. But we've found that many people don't need to see their data on a computer, or the internet, or to store it in order to see history. For some, a simple display located in a prominent location where all members of the household see it on a regular basis is sufficient. For this audience, the Blueline at less than $100 is a great product. The other advantage of the Blueline is its simplicity of install directly on the meter. No need to tinker with your electric box for those intimidated by that aspect.

For those wanting PC connectivity, the next step up is the class of products like the TED 1000 or Current Cost Envi. The Envi, though ubiquitous in the UK, is just coming to the US market and we're currently in the process of testing it.

From there, the next step up are the internet connected devices like the TED 5000 (that also integrates with Google PowerMeter) and Wattvision.

And the ultimate is the eMonitor, which is both internet connected and measures on a circuit by circuit basis. We're using eMonitor now, alongside all the TEDs, and the Blueline, and Wattvision. Each one has it's place.

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