Sense vs competitors

I’m happy I bought a home energy monitoring, but I’m wondering what some of your thoughts are on Sense vs. competitors. In particular, I’m debating whether I should have instead purchased the Emporia Vue with 4 CTs + a handful of smart plugs for a similar price.

I had 2 main goals when buying the Sense. First was to find out why I seem to be using a lot more energy than my neighbors. Second was to monitor major appliances that might be having problems. To do this well, I need very consistent and accurate monitoring of just a few devices.

Sense has the opportunity to identify a ton of devices in my house, including a lot of smaller ones. That is really cool and interesting, but doesn’t directly help me meet my main goals. And it hasn’t detected all of my major appliances (I know I still need to give it more time), and it has been inconsistent in categorizing energy to devices that had been detected.

A more basic monitor like the Vue that has 4 CTs would be able to accurately measure my total energy usage, as well as the energy used on 4 circuits (which I could put on my 4 dedicated 240v circuits). 5 or so smart plugs should then get my other major energy hogs in the house. Together, that would leave me with a very accurate picture of at least 75% of my energy usage.

A Sense alternative wouldn’t have the potential for the granularity that Sense has, and wouldn’t have the fun of device detection. But, given the ability to more accurately and consistently track just the biggest energy users in my house, I think an alternative might have been the right choice for me. What do you guys think?

Sense’s business model is as much about long-term granular data storage (and user access!) as it is about the hardware. Sense’s abilities, in the near term, with device detection in its infancy, seem limited but it’s data vacuuming ability is in a different class than other options. The incremental introduction of seemingly-magical deductions from that data (not only about device detection) and carefully staged integrations is Sense’s core strength.

For example, applying the “detection” paradigm to the Solar input data may be unnecessary but with the right data analysis you can expect that Sense will be able to optimize your solar usage for emergency escapes and beyond. These are not things that observing rudimentary energy usage information is going to tell you.

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I haven’t seen any compelling competitors to sense. Nobody else uses machine learning the same way.

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I think you captured my thoughts @ixu. When I first looked for an energy disaggregation product a few years ago, I had a few criteria:

  • Had to have a minimal number of CTs - I have a huge number of circuits in both my panels, plus a half panel. Couldn’t be a CT per circuit solution.
  • Had to be dedicated to disaggregation for the long haul.
  • Had to be open and have a user forum
    I looked at Sense, Neurio and Smappee. Both Neurio and Smappee seemed similar, with Smappee more aligned with European power systems, vs. North American. Sense seemed the most committed and best financed.

Looking back 3 years later, Sense was the right choice. Both the others have veered somewhat from their original missions, plus still don’t have users forums or the data export I get from Sense (AFAIK). The long term access to historic data has also been a big differentiator for me as time has gone on. I don’t want run my own data server. Which reminds me, my SolarCity portal goes away tomorrow, rolling functionality into the Tesla App that only shows limited history data. So I gotta archive my 6 years of production data tonight :frowning:

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Yep @kevin1, it definitely seems like sense is the best aligned product with your goals, especially back when you signed up for it. I’m realizing that for my goals of more short term identification and precise monitoring of the largest power draws, there might have been better products currently available to me. I guess my take-away is that in the world of home energy monitors, there is currently no clear single best for everyone; right now, the best device for you would depend on your specific goals.

I wish there was a good article reviewing all the home energy monitors, clearly stating their pros and cons, and which devices might be best for you depending on what your goals are. Maybe the article exists, but I wasn’t able to find it when I was searching for a device.

@kevin1

MySolarCity app has been extended by Tesla to August 15th! You have a little more wiggle room.

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I already have a script to download every day of data already and have ferreted away most of the 6 years. Just have to check for integrity, plus capture the waning days.