Additional details for percentage notifications

So I receive notifications almost daily (maybe every other day?) from Sense that my energy usage is XX% higher than others in my area.

It would be really nice to know what “my area” is considered to be and what the sample size is. Maybe something like "out of 100 users in a 100 mile radius you are using XX% more than average.

The reason I say this is because most of the time I get this notification about the custom TOD rate that I have for EV charging which I do from 12am to 6am because I get a discount. I’m assuming that I’m being compared to people who are sleeping and not charing an EV.


Here’s a basic example from my utility company:


Todd… Glad you brought this up. I have been getting this same notice as well. I am in a very rural part of Northern Michigan. Having a hard time with the energy statement. I just had to delete a whole bunch of my text. Have to find the data that I read recently about the age etc. of our ‘homes’ in the area. Let me leave with this. 22 years ago I built a brand new 3000 sq ft barn …10 foot walls …for our farm. The electric company would not bring us electricity for it. They had to put a ( one ) pole in to make the run. The neighbors said I ruined there view for their proposed new home. Undenounced to us. So I bought them out and there 10 acres. Couple of years later the electric company put service in for a fella living in a school bus on the far edge of our property. He died a couple of years later. For nearly the last 15 years not a watt has gone through the meter. GO figure… The stats that I have been looking for …and hope to find soon… Showed our county with about a 35-40 percent year round occupancy rate. So where / how to you make these comparisons… Sorry if I got why off topic… My 2 cents…Gerry

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I can’t find the reference where I heard this, but they use the first three digits of your zip code if there are sufficient Sense participants with that value. In order to protect the privacy of other participants, I think they need at least 10 people in a group. If the zip code doesn’t have enough Sense participants, then they use the other factors on the list above within your state.

Even knowing the basics of how the comparison is made, as I just described, I would like more transparency in this comparison. The suggestions in the OP are good ones, so I have added my Like above.


@gcrawford.k8ger Your story gave me a laugh. It’s refreshing to read something that actually drew an image in my head that’s not that of a circuit board or a network diagram!

Thanks for putting a smile on my face!

Real fine… We live in what I have been told is one of the poorest counties in the state. We got this house 6 months after it was built new… Stick built. Have 2 saw mills behind us and no residents. All townships …5 …in the county. We are not zoned… So love it …hi… I have grazed 60 head of Black Angus… Grass fed. Can do just about what you want… Later…Gerry

For this ToU notification, you’re seeing a self-comparison average, i.e., it’s only comparing to your usage in that TOU rate zone.

We do have some additional information for this in a help article here, but including the answer below for folks to see:

This Similar Homes comparison is based on the data you provide on the Home Details ( Settings > My Home > Home Details ) screen, including specifics about your home and eventually even specifics like certain devices you have in your home. At the moment, this comparison will only take square footage and immediate locale into account. In time, as we accrue more data, we’ll be able to build this out further to include other home specifics, like the number of residents in a home and specific devices contained within.

Please note that you may not see a Similar Homes comparison right away. Sense needs to see data from 15 homes in your area in order to build out this comparison. “Area” is based on the postal code that you provide under Home Details. If not enough matches are found in your immediate area, Sense will widen its search to the area defined by the first three digits of your postal code.

May I suggest a grammatical change then? I think it should read:

“Your energy use is 354% higher than YOUR average in THE (insert zone name) rate zone.”

Thanks Justin, this is what I was referring to. It would be nice to know the statistics behind the “average”. I understand that the reason for filling out the home details is to help with analysis but I was looking for the data behind the resulting number. As you can see from my utility it says “100 homes within 6.2 miles” it goes on to say, homes with electric heat, etc etc. Otherwise you could have been comparing me to someone in Antarctica, or the Mojave Desert which I’m sure would be very different. Your answer does help clarify that it’s “at least” limited to the first 3 of my zip.

So, it would be nice if you guys added that little bit of info to the alert.

I spoke with @RyanAtSense and he noted the ambiguity of the verbiage here and mentioned that we’ll make some revisions to the copy soon to make it clearer.

Thanks for the suggestions!


Could you provide an expanded version (the entire web page, barring any personal information) of this screenshot? We’re curious about what your utility says about their cohorting.

Here’s a couple for you:

The above is WAY WAY WAY WAY OFF. It’s just their guestimate.
My actual EV charging is only about $35-$40 a month. Energy for EV Charging below:


Much appreciated @DevOpsTodd and thanks for starting this discussion. We’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we can provide more personalized insights to Sense users, so this feedback is very timely.