When I say upstream from Sense I do mean things that are before the Sense clamps. And by before, I generally mean in the direction that power is flowing. Sense cannot measure power that doesn’t pass through its clamps. A smart meter is consuming its power before the Sense clamps, so there is no way for it to measure that power. You are correct, the labels on the CT clamps are merely for alignment to help speed up the install process so you get the windings going the same way.
The CT clamps for Sense are the same technology your Utility power meter is using. The main difference being that we can remove and move the Sense clamps. The Utilities sensors are built into the overall meter housing.
Think of the Sense just like your Utility meter, or your water meter. It only knows about whats going on that passes through the meter.
The reason I was asking about “what you mean by smart meter” is because it is not possible for the Sense to detect any power used by it, so I didn’t know if you meant some other kind of “smart” meter that the Utility gives you to install in your electrical panel.
The only way for the Sense to detect any power consumed by the Utility would be if your clamps were installed before your meter, which your Utility would very much frown upon if they saw evidence of tampering with things before your meter.