This 40+ page set of notes is available in the DTE service area for $ 10.00 plus shipping, and handling from:
PO Box 1288
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106-1288
The Betatronics e-mail address is
Otherwise use firstname.lastname@example.org .
Reduce your DTE electric bill by a quantitative analysis of your energy use by using
the DTE website and "Smart Meter" data to find where you are unnecessarily using energy.
If you reduced your daily energy consumption by 2.4 kWh, the equivalent of one 100 W bulb on continuously for
24 hours, then this could produce a yearly reduction in you bill of approximately 2.4*365.25*0.16 = $140. A lot of
small continuous loads could easily add to 100 W. W is watts, kW is kilowatts, Wh is watt-hours, and kWh is
kilowatt-hours, these are electrical units of energy measurement.
The purpose of these notes is to help you make use of your DTE "Smart
Meter" data that is available on the DTE website, and directly from
the "Smart Meter" face to help reduce your energy use. DTE refers to Smart Meters as AMI meters (Advanced Metering
Infrastructure). Detailed quantitative information (data) about your energy use can
greatly increase your ability to intelligently find ways to reduce your electrical energy
consumption, and thus your electric costs. These notes are a "how to use" discussion.
What you buy from DTE is energy, kWh, plus fees and taxes. You do not buy volts, amperes,
volt-amperes, power factor, or other electrical units.
The finest detail (resolution, some use the word granularity) from the DTE website is
energy quantized to 0.01 kWh per
hour. Nothing finer is presently available. This degree of resolution can help you find
excessive power or energy loads, and see changes by season, equipment, and life-style.
There is 0.001 kWh resolution at the meter face by means of a dot sequence, but
difficult to use.
The DTE meter and data (information, values) from it are discussed in detail. Procedures
for reading the meter and getting data from the DTE website are presented.
Data that DTE collects from your meter can be viewed (displayed) or downloaded.
Often times the electric power lines leading to the meter
are referred to as mains.
The DTE meter directly measures energy used from one point in time to another later time point.
Energy is what does real work and is numerically measured in kWh (kilo-watt-hours), and is
quantized to 1 kWh at the meter face digital display. At the website resolution
is 0.01 kWh.
One Wh (0.001 kWh) resolution at the meter can be obtained by counting step changes in a
Short time average power (watts (W), or kilowatts (kW) ) can be determined
from energy change measured over a time period. This informtion can help determine what
loads are significant.
Quantitative data (information) from the DTE Smart Meter is an important component of an energy
conservation effort. Unless everyone works on conserving energy the cost of electricity
is going to increase more rapidly than what it is already increasing. There are various
levels to saturation in generation and distribution. Saturation is a type of maximum
capability. Where a system operates relative to saturation or maximum load determines
long term electrical energy cost, and what capital equipment must be purchased by the power
company. Government policies have a great affect on these costs.
Your electric bill is primarily based upon the energy used, kWh, plus some other factors.
Do not let a salesman sell or lease to you a box that attaches to your main panel that is
claimed to reduce energy consumption. These generally are primarily a capacitor for power factor
correction (PFC), and for a home the claims made are a fraud or scam. In demonstrations an
ammeter is used showing a big change in a displayed number (amperes), but you do not
A wattmeter in the same
experiment will show virtually no change. And watts (power) or kWh (energy) is what you buy.
A normal residential homeowner or small business
customer is not penalized for poor power factor. Thus, improving your power factor
saves you nothing, and does not change your power or energy use as read at your meter.
Stories exist of installations where the customer has paid $1600 for the equipment and
installation. Just the power factor correction box alone is many times priced in the
$200 to $300 range. You, as a residential customer, can make real savings with conservation,
but not with power factor correction capacitors.
A curve simulating a previously available DTE plot is shown below. Another plot below is our creation
from exported DTE data. The graphical information can be very informative.
Some of your big energy loads are lights, refrigerators, air conditioners, furnaces,
heaters, fans, and entertainment centers.
Table of Contents
2. Hourly Power and Energy Data --- DTE "Hourly Use bar chart)"
2.1 How to find the "Hourly Use (bar chart)"
2.2 The "Hourly Use (bar chart)" defaults
2.3 Exporting Data
2.4 Working with the "Hourly Use (bar chart)" information
2.5 Analysis of sleep time base load
2.6 Estimating Average Power of a Load
2.7 Using the DTE smart meter to estimate loads
2.8 Studying non-sleep time loads
3. The other DTE graphs
3.1 Graph types in the 2 November 2013 program
3.2 "Compare hourly use" discussion
3.3 Suggested Graph for you to create
3.4 A Similar Useful Type Plot
4. Electric hot water & Engine block heaters, Car chargers, and Air conditioning
Appendix A Navigating to Your Smart Meter Data on the DTE website
Appendix B When DTE quantizes energy measurement
Appendix C The Smart Meter on the Side of Your Home
Appendix D Smart Meter Short Time Average Power Measurement
Appendix E Comparison of light sources
Appendix F Selecting Time Periods for Averaging
Appendix Z Constants, Conversion Factors, and Formulas