Microsoft expects that Hohm combined with Wi-Fi gateways will allow consumers to both view
electricity consumption and potentially control appliances. For example, a person could control
heating and cooling from the Web or have dishwashers and dryers take advantage of off-peak rates.
"We're riding the coattails of the Internet connection going into the home," said Troy Battenberry,
the general manager of Hohm. "It makes far more economic sense and it's much more future-proofed wow power leveling
than meter networks built by utilities."
Microsoft provided me with the components of the PowerCost Monitor WiFi bundle so that I could play
with the tools for a few days. The retail cost is $249. Buying the monitor alone without the link
to Hohm is about $100.
I found that have having the monitor--a handheld display a little bit bigger than my home phone--
made me more curious about electricity. Sunday night I glanced at it and saw that we were consuming
1.1 kilowatts. But it was only 0.4 kilowatts a little while ago--what turned on?
Having Hohm to look at the graph of my home electricity was fun now and again. But I think the
greater value will be viewing trends over time and seeing the cost savings of changes we make.