Get SENSE back to basics

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So this is dialed back🤷🏼‍♂️

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We did an in-depth study following a test pilot and 8-9% savings was the average. You can see the full study here and there are additional references to it online you can find.

This is an actual quote from a user. I get that the savings might lean on the “higher end” of what the average is here, but anecdotally we get a very fair amount of folks that have made significant reductions to their electric bill. I’m working on finding a link to the original quote we cited from Amazon.

This is from an actual product review by PC Mag, which in general was pretty fair. You can find the whole review here or just by searching for “Sense PC Mag Review”.

I’ll share this with our marketing team @Beachcomber, but I personally don’t think anything here is egregiously overstating product capabilities. We cite quotes from actual users to ensure that we share real stories or quotes and we make sure to avoid anything that definitively says “we’ll detect X, Y, or Z” vs. some of our language earlier on.

Compared to the overall marketing landscape, I believe we’re rather reserved in the claims we make about Sense based on feedback we get from our users. Regardless, I appreciate you sharing and will surface with our team.

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Here’s the original amazon review that was quoted in the ad unit above:

Then you need the * Results not typical disclaimer just like the weight loss ads.

I’m still waiting for sense to detect my dryer.

And how would telling me my dryer was on pay for itself :man_shrugging:t3:

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@Beachcomber, those aren’t Sense’s words. You might need to read the article to see how use of Sense might pay for itself. I was able to pay for a couple Senses with one year of savings from squeezing more usage into my lower cost TOU periods.

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Yes and those testimonials for losing 50 lbs in 4 months actually did it, but results are not typical.

Most of USA not on TOU billing either. According to research:

The national survey of residential TOU rates
▀ 14% of all US utilities offer a residential TOU
▀ Where TOU is available, around 3% of customers are enrolled on average

http://files.brattle.com/files/12658_the_national_landscape_of_residential_tou_rates_a_preliminary_summary.pdf

Considering how little Sense natively detects, it’s laughable to see those claims imo.

So:

IF You Have Solar
AND IF you have TOU
AND IF you add on a number of other Sensors
You MIGHT save money like you did.

Then again, it seems pretty obvious if you have TOU you would know to charge your EVs overnight with or without a Sense :man_shrugging:t3:

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@Beachcomber, I think those number are stale (2017 which really means 2016). All the major CA utilities, PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E have transitioned pretty much all customers to TOU. I have a feeling other big utilities have either done the same or are going to.

I did a deep analysis of all the utility rates in the OpenEI database, in 2020 and there appeared to be a significant number of TOU rates. Plus the biggest 20% of the utilities cover probably 60% of the US households.

My tricks were beyond the obvious EV charging - One of the biggest was moving the dishwasher from running after dinner to running after breakfast. Another was catching errant floor heating, especially in our guest room.

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November 12, 2019 which is the latest I see

Given the earlier was November 2017, there may be a new research report this month if the trend continues.

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Thanks for the more recent findings (2019). I still think that the market has moved and is ramping to TOU more quickly than you might expect. I think the plan is to have something like 7.5M households in California alone switched by 2022. I moved from one household on TOU and 4 on tiered billing to 5 on ToU in August 2021 - we own a 4 unit apartment building.

@kevin1
My friend who is with SCE and has NEM1.0 & SCE ToU-A-D for years is being forced to move to new billing schedule. He actually chose to go back to the Tiered system.
I understand that is not possible under NEM2.0 (and higher once it arrives)

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The average person saves $500 on their car insurance by switching to… They quoted me over $1000 more per year, I didn’t switch.

I get ad’s saying the average person saves $30,000 by switching to solar. I couldn’t save that even if they gave me the panels and installed them for free. It’s not very sunny where I am.

9% might not be totally accurate today as the cost of electricity for most has gone way up. My bill hasn’t gone down, but my usage has. I installed a portable AC unit, but was able to cut usage elsewhere enough to not see any increase in total usage.
Did Sense lower my usage? No, but it gave me the insight into my usage to make the cuts. I had no idea why my usage was so high, now I know. Detections are only a very small part.

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Wow - a lot to unpack in this thread. And towards the end it gets a bit argumentative, but some thoughts:

  1. marketing a product - the point is to get people to buy it, so a slogan or caption of “if you’re really lucky, live in a basic home without many devices, and overspend egregiously on electric without paying any attention - then Sense could save you a lot!” Probably wouldnt sell too many. And I think we all want more users because that should ultimately feed more data and improve detection. So I personally will give a pass on that front.

  2. back to basics / detection / smart plugs - i think this is really the crux of the thread and a continuing issue. I’ve got inconsistent devices all over. My dryer, for example, is electric, runs basically the same cycle most days, and when it’s on the bubbles bounce back and forth between knowing what’s on and “other”. It’s cycled thousands of times since i got Sense and it’s a relatively new 2020 GE high efficiency model. Come on guys - get that stuff right. I’m in a low noise environment (330w always on, usually around 500w during dryer cycles excluding the dryer). Smart plugs are great, but the thing i bought didnt say “hey for this to work you’ll need to buy $200 in smart plugs too”.

@JustinAtSense - you mentioned many users just want to save money - and you couldn’t be more right on that. I would encourage you to remember that a major way of doing that is dependent on device detection so users can see what the culprits are clearly.
Also I’m not a TOU user, and without TOU the savings potential from Sense is dramatically limited without more accurate device detection.

  1. picking from home details devices when a device is discovered - would this be simple, perhaps not. However it’s super possible. It would take a little time and effort to get the mechanics right, but ultimately I’d put my developer hat on and ask “what’s the point?” If it’s just to avoid duplicate data entry - there are probably some half way between options like a widget on detected devices to select from Make/Model info from home inventory. Personally - don’t think this is worth the dev time.

  2. Some Suggestions -

A) there was a thread about refrigerators and putting them on smart plugs to help the sense team. PLEASE DO THIS STUFF MORE. There’s a whole host of people here happy to help out IF it actually improves detection.

B) Support the community that feeds you the best data: Talk to your partners over at Kasa and get a discount on a 10 smart plug package for Sense users (Just an idea).

C) build right into the device screen a “check this box to share this device’s data with Sense” at least for smart plug connected devices.

Final thought- Sense is a cool toy. Mine hasn’t detected anything in 4 months or so, plenty out there to find, i’ve caved and basically use smart plugs now because Sense didnt/doesnt work as a good device detection program. It’s great for real time Solar info though which is my primary use.

Thank you for the thoughtful contribution here. I’m going to address a few of these as best as I possibly can :slight_smile: .

I get it, as do folks here. A lot of the work that’s gone on here is unfortunately not super evident to users.
This includes a fairly large effort to make Sense easier to integrate with in the future, and we have some plans and things we’d like to do in the coming future.

Anecdotally, quite a few Sense users that have had their monitor for several years have noted how much detection has improved since they first installed their Sense. We still have a while to go, but we’re optimistic that we’ll be able to continue to make significant consistent progress here.

I’ve passed this feedback along to our team - FWIW we’ve attempted to reach out to KASA several times and haven’t been able to connect in the past. I believe we’re going to try reaching out to them again.

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@rlavorgn , let’s enjoy the 13 buck special on the KP125s right now. That’s the lowest I have seen TP-Link power monitoring plugs. Still pricey for 10, but much better than when H110s were going for 49$

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I have a Dryer, not detected, and also see the spikes up and down when running.

However, I think you are missing that this is actually happening. Just like an oven or induction cooktop, the units so pulses the heating elements off and on to hit the desired drying temp.

The motor might always be running when on but the heating elements are not. That’s why you are seeing all the spikes in you total usage.

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@Beachcomber understood, and that would be a great hope for a future detection of the rest of it - except it used to be way more accurate. I’d estimate the accuracy on dryer detection dropped off in about July - so it was good for a few months, then got sporadic.

Also - it’s a plug type that doesnt fit the smart plug options so cant do that :frowning:

@rlavorgn

You can play games to get sensors working.

That’s why I started this thread last week, though I really didn’t get a bunch of usable info.

What I keep seeing is Sense support personnel agreeing that Sense marketing is a little over the top but then still defending that marketing. New customers, buying under the current marketing efforts, will continue to experience the same misunderstandings and frustration that many of us have and do. I agree with Beachcomber, perhaps Sense should be using the phrase, “Results not typical,” used by weight loss meds and services. I mean really, can sense actually do what is advertised in the majority of cases? The Typical case? If not, and you don’t call out the exceptional outlier results as such, you may be running awfully close to false advertising, (especially when it comes to the subject that we discussed in private messages).

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Customer stories and quotes are the backbones of all of the things we say about our product.

I do appreciate all the feedback and sentiment from this thread and will share them internally here at Sense.

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