Why doesn't "Always On" immediately drop?

Yesterday I was exploring my “always on” devices by unplugging stuff and turning things off and had a question: I understand “Always On” is based on a calculation over time, but why doesn’t it take the minimum of either the calculated value or the current wattage?

Is it a UX reason or a technical one? I would say the current behavior is a little confusing. My always on started at like 115W or something and then slowly fell to 85W even though the actual usage reached lower than that.

@ramon, the reason is definitely not UX-related… It’s all about how do you really measure the amount to power in your house that is “Always On”. A couple of prerequisites:

  • It has to be a 24 or even better 48 hour measure measure to catch the quietest times in your house. The quietist time are the times you are likely to see the remaining Always On level. Therefore, Always On is related to the lowest measurements over a 24-48 hour period.

  • But you don’t want the Always On number to drop wildly for 48 hours, just because Sense dropped a couple measurements, or you flipped-off some breakers for a couple of minutes, so it can’t just be a rolling minimum for the past 48 hours. So Sense included a stickiness factor by using the 1% bin minimum over the past 48 hours. That means Sense uses the biggest of the smallest 1% of the readings over the the last 48 hours.

Some people don’t like that measure, but having seen it evolve through a few iterations, this is the best algorithm I have seen yet to get at a value you can’t measure directly.


Thanks, Kevin! However, this sounds to me like it’s absolutely about UX. Measuring what’s “Always On” could just be a simple min over time, but like you said, this could potentially be misleading for temporary drops depending on the user.

For me personally, I would want it to drop immediately if I flipped a breaker and then gradually rise again over some “short” period of time. That is reasonable to me. I wouldn’t want it to drop though if Sense missed a measurement. It should be able to differentiate between the absence of a value and a value of 0.

I guess I wouldn’t even have this confusion if it was called “Usually On” instead of “Always On”…not that I actually want that. Just trying to understand the rationale behind the current behavior.

For the screenshot above, I suppose my ideal behavior would be to drop to 73W and then follow the current wattage until it climbs back up to 86W (or whatever the calculated Always On was at that time) and then display that instead.

I’ve harped about it elsewhere, but the particular “unique” nature of a fridge/freezer’s Always On is informative here and worth pondering.

There’s no currently feasible absolute Always On but one can imagine a fully device-tracking Sense & cloud with the user capability of being able to display for any given time period the actual Always On for that period … but pondering that you also arrive at thinking you’d also need, say, a slider from 0-100% of “Always”.

The Always On measurement necessarily evolves with the improving capabilities of Sense and the confidences that AO is based upon.

My take… Don’t use the Always On on bubble for whatever you are trying to do. Use the Power Meter if you want to see any change in real-time. I think that is one of the reasons Sense has pushed the Power Meter more to the forefront with this latest new release - it’s the best tool for real-time diagnostics of what is going on in your house.

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Yeah, I agree. The current behavior does not match my intuition as a new user though.

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