July 14, 2009

Affordable Electric Power Meters Underestimate Consumption

End-user electricity consumption meters often underestimate the power consumed by the electronic equipment. Researchers at Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT and Helsinki University of Technology TKK found out that some commonly available power meters measure 25 percent lower consumption than in reality.

Researchers Lassi A. Liikkanen and Tatu Nieminen evaluated in laboratory 11 power meter that have recently become widely available to consumers. The majority of the affordable devices fell into the price range of 10-20 Euros. With the information provided by the meters a consumer can become aware of the household equipments' power consumption and save electricity.

The accuracy of the meters was not dependent on the price of the device. Some expensive meters gave inaccurate results, and some of the most inexpensive devices were found to be very accurate. The best devices can reliably be used to measure both very small stand-by loads and big loads.

Research on electric power meters was a part of BeAware research project aiming to improve people's awareness on energy consumption. It is funded by the European Union in the FP7/ICT program. The project is co-ordinated by Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT. HIIT is a joint research institute of Helsinki University of Technology TKK and the University of Helsinki for basic and strategic research on information technology.


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