I’ve had my Sense for about a year now. Upon installation, I realized one major design flaw with the unit - the inability to monitor a 400A panel with dual 200A feeds. I immediately came to the forum and did a search, only to discover that this feature had been requested more than a year earlier. Updates to that thread every few months were generally something along the line of “it’s on our roadmap but not a priority.” Well, here I am now, having waited for a year to be able to see my complete home energy usage on one screen (a seemingly pretty fundamental thing) and I come back here to discover that thread has been locked and the last update was that this feature was not currently on the product roadmap. In the meantime, the supposed “top priority”, improving device detection, is just as bad today as it was a year ago. I think my Sense has “discovered” about 9 vacuums, umpteen million motors, etc. The device-level data is so bad as to be completely worthless to me, and without a clear snapshot of my whole-house energy usage, the Sense device overall is useless to me. So, after having waited patiently for a year for Sense to fix some seemingly fundamental shortcoming, I’m tired of being a guinea pig for a ‘not quite ready for prime time’ product.
I always hate to hear that someone is not satisfied or has had a less desirable experience than expected.
The first thing that you mentioned is lack of 400 amp service for dual feeds customers. I’m first wondering if you have made sure A single Sense won’t work for you? If you have a single electric meter, you most likely can. Also about that complaint, it’s a little unfair. They do not and have not marketed it for 400 amp service of any type. We can’t fault them for not changing the product to our liking after we have purchased, no matter how many want it. I do absolutely agree that they are a little behind the times with the lack of foresight in how many homes are and will be using 400amp service.
It sounds like you have had good detection but didn’t care for having to help Sense identity these detections. Some of us enjoy that part of it but I completely understand those that do not.
I have had my complaints with what I feel has been marketed versus what real world experience has been.
May I ask you? Would you explain how they could change or improve their marketing material?
I’m not an employee or in anyway involved with the company. I just want to see people have the best experience they can for their investment.
Some perspective …
For the vast majority of housing 200A is more than adequate and the presence of “400A” is usually just a matter of adding lots of circuits and breakers.
That said, with EVs and battery charging there is a potential exploit for peak total loads above 200A (for an average house with an EV or 2) BUT most households are going to have an intelligent limit on the how much juice is pulled and when. e.g. EV charging often happens overnight during off-peak times when the likely house load is lower. Very few can afford a high-amp charging system anyway and there are good reasons to limit the charging amps and increase the charge cycle. Super-chargers are better as shared tech. All that is ignoring the fact that along with EVs usually comes Solar … which actually lowers the likely peak panel feed ampacity because the supply is local and households for the most part will tend toward limiting their usage to the solar peak. e.g. If you want a “solar” EV then you’ll want to charge at a rate dictated by your solar (over) supply.
My rule of thumb would be: If you have >24kW of solar then you may need to look at some Sense tweaks. I don’t think there are many people out there with that much solar.
BTW At 20cents/kWhr delivered, 200A@120V is $4.80/hr. At 12hrs a day that’s about $1,700/month.
And a technical note: a 200A-limit CT is going to be significantly more precise than a 400A-limit CT … especially in the lower mA signal range … so disaggregation will have better data.
Thanks for the reply. With regard to the 400A service, yes I did look into different ways to install a single set of CT’s. All solutions involved opening up the PG&E-owned portion of the panel, which PG&E made very clear to me was not acceptable and would be considered tampering with their equipment. I’m aware that others have done this and it’s worked OK but I’d rather not assume the liability of doing so. We can debate what % of users this situation is an issue for, but my bigger issue is that when I raised my concern on the forum about this initially (on a thread that was over a year old at that time, by the way) the reply was that it was “on the roadmap”. This continued to be the reply for many months. Being an early adopter on items like Sense, I understand that the product doesn’t always have all the features you want on day one, but the successful companies listen to their customers and add the features they request. The disappointing part is that, two years after that thread was started, and after many repeated statements that this feature was on the road map, Sense has locked the thread and the official statement now is that it’s not currently on the roadmap. Had this been their position when I first installed the unit, I would have removed it and returned while I could have gotten a refund.
Regarding the detection, I will admit that I’m a bit biased because of the issue above. When my macro data is useless to me I’m much less interested in investing significant effort on micro-level data. I could really care less how much my vacuum is using when I can’t even see how much total energy I’m using vs, how much my solar panels are producing, If issue #1 were resolved I’d be far more likely to be invested in helping the discovery process, as it would then yield usable data.
Whether it’s fair or not, and whether it was in their marketing material or not, I do feel misled at this point by the repeated statements that support for my particular installation needs was on the roadmap. I’ve waited patiently for a year, and many others have been waiting much longer than me. At the end of the day, the incomplete data I’m receiving, and will presumably continue to receive for the foreseeable future, just isn’t worth anything to me, so I see no reason to leave the unit installed.
I’m looking through that thread and I really don’t see any guarantees that it was coming in the near term. (ETA: Admittedly, some of the language was a bit too specific with dates, but uncertainty was still emphasized). As my colleagues noted in their initial responses, the timeline was uncertain and still is. We hoped to get to it sooner, but as with any product roadmap, priorities shift around continuously (thus our policy of not making our near-term roadmap public). We do plan to add 400A support in time, but it is not an immediate priority feature for a variety of reasons.
I would say that we’ve added quite a few features that customers have asked for. There’s an entire sub-category on Product Wishlist of closed threads for features we’v built. Still, we can’t build everything. Sometimes it’s a resourcing issue (we’re still pretty small), sometimes it’s a small use case, and sometimes it’s just outside the scope of what Sense is built to do.
I’m sorry you feel mislead and that it’s resulted in a poor overall experience. If you shoot me a PM, I’ll see what we can do to try and make it right.
Putting the clamps inside the electric company panel is what I was referring to. Mine has no problem with installing there as long as they are involved and it’s on my side of the meter. Although the meter is theirs, the panel and all the wire after the meter belong to me. Their meter is installed in my panel. The only say they have in it is the meter itself. If you wanted to press it, you could remind PG&E who the panel belongs to. The wire coming in likely belongs to them but the wire leaving the meter is yours.
I agree that Sense doesn’t seem to listen to customers as well as they should. To say something is on the roadmap only later to be removed without adequate explanation is not a good practice.
400 Amp service here.
2 wires come in but directly from the meter; 4 wires come out. The meter sits on some kind of panel that has nuts for 4 wires (2 each)
The ability to use a singe sense is only possible before the meter.
Do meters use energy?
Meters use very little energy. I suspect digital meters may use less energy than old electromechanical ones though I suppose that depends mostly on their level of smarts. Processing + WiFi = increased energy.
BTW: There’s nothing to stop you clamping the Sense CTs around multiple wires … as long as you get the phases (legs) correct the CT will simply read the sum of the multiple currents. This is not ideal in terms of the wire position(s) relative to the CT and optimal accuracy but as long as the CTs aren’t moved around after “calibration” having 1, 2, 3 or more wires passing through a CT is fine as long as the phases are matched.
Meters use some energy, but not very much. I have a pre-meter install on a 400A service, like you are anticipating.
My in-depth accuracy comparisons between Sense and my Utility data on an hourly basis indicated that the meter uses something under 2W.
Here’s the more detailed analysis. It turns out data dropouts were the biggest accuracy issue for me with Sense (my networking and the Sense monitor were both to blame - part of the issue is that I have too many smartplugs in use with Sense)
From my most recent measurements.
Sense = -0.001715kW + ( 0.999934 * Utility Reading)
Due the the thickness and rigidness of the wire it is not possible to clamp more than 1 at a time
Multiple wires can work in some cases.
It seems you don’t have to worry about it?
Was your question before about the 400w you were seeing with “99% of breakers off”? A meter alone certainly wouldn’t be registering 400w. If you are seeing that after the meter then you almost certainly have a load on the panel circuitry somewhere. Can you switch of all the breakers to confirm? Obviously where the Sense itself is plugged in would have to remain on … with only that on you should see about 2w on the main meter or in Signals but you’re probably best leaving modem/network gear on … usually that’s only going to be a few watts and easy to add up
My comment is:
Might the ability to combine 2 sense units on one account so you get individual loads for both units going to be available before the solution to this fellows problem?
Or should I just let my unit remain in place? It does not serve my situation well.
Maybe the possibility of customers purchasing another unit is so small, we are not important.
I agree with your post. I tried to reach out to management, but they are very focused on providing better sense capability vs giving a fundamental feature that all users need to make the device useful to begin with. I have seen this with other companies where they keep pushing resources at Utopia and forget what is being asked.
To implement this would be easy. Maybe they are over engineering this and thinking the solution requires real-time feeds coming together on one screen. This solution has a multitude of complexity issues attached to it. I think the EASIER solution is allow you to add multiple senses on ONE account. Drop-down and select between devices. Then provide a summary page with compiles both together (with small delay). Seems like an easy first step and a stop-gap between when they could create a more complicated solution that is not needed.
I to have a 400A unit with two sense units. I agree just being able to switch between the two, with a summary would be a big step forward.
The problem I see with focusing on device discovery is that it will never be done and it is hard to see Improvements. Adding highly requested features gives for many more perceived value.
The other would be to be able to enter different rates depending on the time.
We have a thread on 400A support in Product Wishlist. If you’d like to show support for it, please ‘like’ that thread. We do not need another discussion thread on why it’d be useful. You can see the current status at the bottom of that thread.