Powerpal is a small Australian invented gadget that reads the flashes on your electricity smart meter and translates these into easy to interpret graphs on a mobile app that show how much grid electricity your home is importing as well as how much it costs.

Thanks to the Victorian Government’s energy upgrades program if you live in metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat you can get a Powerpal delivered and installed free.

There have been over 35,000 Powerpal devices installed for Victorians under this offer.

Powerpal say that they really wish self installation was allowed to qualify for this free Vic Government deal however, as part of the rules of the Victorian Energy Upgrades program installation of all products must be undertaken by an “Accredited Provider” under the program. This is a general rule for all products available under the program, from hot water heaters to LED light globes.

Powerpal receives about $90 for each installation, covering both the cost of the product and professional installation. This is paid for by Victorian electricity retailers, not via tax dollars, as part of their commitment to improving energy efficiency in Victoria.

I got a Powerpal unit a few days ago to test in NSW and can report that it takes only a few minutes to self install.

As it claims it really does show power usage in real-time, with home power usage rising, changing and falling as soon as I turn on/off lights, dishwasher, dryer etc. A full review will be available once my Powerpal collects more than a month’s worth of data.

Unfortunately Powerpal can’t generally be installed in apartments as the electricity meters are often located in a locked cabinet in the basement which is hard to access and a long way from the apartment itself (which makes signal range difficult).

If you’re a Victorian who isn’t eligible for the free Government offer or you live in another state like me you can buy a Powerpal from their website for $129 including delivery.

Note that the Powerpal only measures electricity imported from the grid. If you have solar it will display Zero usage in the app for all the time ranges when your panels are receiving enough solar energy from the Sun to power your house.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you have solar you want to ideally use less power then you’re generating with the panels on your roof. If Powerpal says you’re importing grid electricity during the day you could try doing things like adjusting the Air Con temperature so your grid power usage is reduced/or goes to zero again.

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Joshua Hill

How come Powerpal charges Vic Electricity Suppliers $90 for the device and installation yet NSW residents who opt to pay for this themselves are charged roughly $40 more with no installation?