First FULL bill with Sense

Got my first power bill since running sense a full month:

Sense: 1083.60 kWh @ $123
Ga Power: 1065 kWh

Cost wasn’t even close. However, GA power does a tier level billing which sense does not. (HINT HINT sense, that would be a cool enhancement).

Also I had to do some math for KWh. GA power isn’t always 30 days. Sense app when you put a start date computes based on 30 days.

Just an FYI

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That’s pretty accurate considering you really don’t know when they took the reading. Even if you know the day do you know the hour? I used to use a reader that tracked the rotations of the meter. I thought THAT would be accurate, but it missed a LOT.

My first bill cycle ends on the 5th, cannot wait to see the bill show up… I also added solar, so it’s a very exciting bill for us

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Sounds good.

Sorry if my post came across negative. It wasn’t. Just sharing

How are you getting Sense report to match your billing cycle? My report is for the prior month. Who cares about usage in September? That can be determined in 5 seconds in Sense!!! I want from the 12th to the 12th. If my billing statement says the next month the reading will be the 14th, then I should be able change it to 14th and my next report cover from the 12th to the 14th. Simple for them to program. Pain in the ass for me because the only way i have figured out is to take total for prior month then go to day view and subtract out 12 days of usage. Then take current month usage and subtract out how many days have passed since the 12th. Pain in the ass!!! I think Sense engineers got this one wrong…but I am sure they don’t care.

Sounds like your billing days float around like mine do… Not sure how prevalent that is - which utility are you with ? I get billed by PG&E (northern California). I actually have a calculator (R script) that does do the correct billing alignment and TOU calculation for me based on Sense hourly data, but don’t really use it except to look back at a year to make sure that I’m on the best rate plan for my situation.

It would be interesting to know your goal:

  • Predict my usage / bill ?
  • Make sure my power company is honest / Sense is accurate ?
  • Rate plan selection ?
    There might be some easy ways to achieve these within what Sense provides today.

Hi Kevin. My main goal is make sure my power company (Florida Power & Light) and Sense match for the month. We do have tiered service where there is fixed account fee, the first 1 MWh is at one rate, and the next 2 MWh is at an different rate.

Someone told me that there is a Bill tab on the Trends page. I don’t have that. But if I find out how to get it, it would be nice if it let you enter a starting date & time and ending date/time.

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I just checked and the bill section in trends doesn’t show up unless you go to settings > my home and enter a billing start date. Unfortunately, Sense just assumes a month to month billing period that never changes. My can go ± a couple of days depending on when my meter is read.

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The bill tab appears if you enter a Billing Cycle Start and Electricity Cost on the “My Home” page in settings on the app.

The topic of tiered pricing, TOU pricing, floating bill dates comes up all the time. Everyone wants their version supported and states how easy it is to do, but it isn’t easy.

I get billed the same date every every month (with a possible exception every now and then), and I have a static price per kWh. but then my power company has all sorts of other charges. Delivery charge. Environmental charges etc. Sense would have to build about 8 different input fields for them to get my bill exact every month, and even then, I would portienaly have to go in and change settings each month as the extra charges can vary.

Now look at people with TOU that changes seasonally. What about people with TOU and tiered billing?
The table that Sense would have to build to capture all the possible billing scenarios of all power companies in the US would be extreme.

They currently provide all the data necessary for you to do this yourself which seems like the correct approach. I can see how man kWh a device uses by hour/day/month. @kevin1 has created his own excel grid to be able to then take this data in and process it against how his power company. Would it be nice if we didn’t have to do this ourselves? Sure, but at least for the time being, it does not seem like solvable task and is certainly not an easy task.

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I have had a billing date of the 12th and 13 cents ever since I installed Sense.

Same response as to waterboy. Those were set long ago.

Delivery charges with the half dozen electric companies I have had were just a charge per KWh on top of the energy charge. For example, 3 cent delivery charge and 4 cent energy charge makes 7 cents/KWh for first 1 MWh. Then 3.2 cent delivery and 4.5 cent energy makes 7.7 cents/KWh for the next 2 MWH. Then 3.2 cent delivery and 5 cent energy makes 8.2 cent/KWh for the next 5 MWh. User would just enter 7 cents - 1 MWh, 7.7 cents - 3 MWh, 8.2 cents - 8 MWh. Monthly access/account fees could be a fixed number you enter.

As someone who in my younger days did quite a bit of programming, I would say the majority of use cases for tiered pricing, TOU and floating bill dates could easily be programmed. But not with simplistic static rate and billing date. The person would have to be provided a way to enter a start date/time and end date/time and ability to adjust it each month when their bill says the next meter read date. Most tiered pricing that I have seen is $x for the first m MWh, $y for the next n MWh, $z for the next p MWh. That would be very easy for the user to enter and for the software to use. TOU charges may vary seasonally, that just means that the user has to go in and change the values during the first month of the new structure (be nice if they could save the prior one as a profile so they can go back to it next season). I will admit it is the most difficult. Not so much from the programmer’s perspective, but from the user perspective. The user would have to enter the hour brackets and corresponding rates for each day (with s/w help for days with the same hours/rates as another day). Would this satisfy 100% of people? No. But why do NOTHING just because you can’t do 100%?

About the only thing that Sense seems to consistently do well is measure instantaneous power consumption accurately and keep track of total energy consumption. You can’t look at device trends and totals because you don’t know how much of a device’s power went into the OTHER category. It sure puts my A/C, fixed speed pool pump, refrig and other major power consumers into the Other category multiple times daily–sometimes while they are still running!!! I can watch A/C bubble disappear and Other bubble all but burst.

Seems they would want to maximize the ONE THING that Sense can do well…and that would be to predict your power bill.

Are you checking on the Web App? Billing Cycle is not there yet, but working to get it added soon. You should see it on the Trends page in the mobile app, which is the best supported version of the Sense app. If you’re still not seeing it there, with date and cost filled in, then it’s likely some sort of bug and should be taken up with Support.

Thank you. You are right I only use the web app. Installed the Android app and it is there. I still believe the monthly usage emails should be for the billing period, which means something, rather than the calendar month. I am guessing that if I check this on the 13th it will have already reset to the new month. The email would set it in stone for users to compare to utility bill at any time. Just sayin’

It’s a fair point and I’ll bring it up with the Product team. An immediate complication I’m thinking of is that not everyone inputs billing info. Thus, that means two separate email groups and it’d have to be dynamic to move users from one bucket to another when/if they add billing info. On top of that, some might still prefer the email to come at the beginning of the month regardless of billing date, so we’d probably want to leave it optional. In short, while it’s doable, it’s not an altogether simple add. I’d suggest writing up the request in the Product Wishlist subforum (specifically about the timing of the monthly email report) so we can get other opinions on it.

Thanks. One possibility is that reports default to the 1st, so for users that don’t enter a billing date then they continue to get what they get now. For users that enter a date, they could be given a choice between calendar month, billing month, or both (it is just email). Not sure why it would be implemented in email groups. I suspect it would start out as a parameter value in a database. Probably the database that is used to generate the current reports. The report generator would need to be modified to look at the new database parameter, and the report generator would have to be scheduled to run daily. Email would only be sent for accounts that have the report run that day.