New DTE app lets users check their energy use - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

New DTE app lets users check their energy use

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(WJBK) -  Joel Miller, a senior strategist with DTE Energy,  gave us some insight -- on DTE insight.

The new,  free smart phone app  helps customers see their energy use hour by hour -- or minute by minute.

"By studying your data and by looking around your home you can discover what things are using energy," Miller said.

 Then, you make choices -- replace appliances or physically turn off whatever's not needed -- or is wasting energy, and save money on your energy bill in the process.

"I think for a lot of us, you might have a sense about what your large appliances are using or your furnace or air conditioner," said Dave Meador, DTE's vice chairman. "But there's a lot of other things in our homes that are using energy all the time."

Miller used data from his house to give us an example. He said by playing with the app and studying the numbers -- he was able to cut his own power use almost in half.

"These raises in the energy is my refrigerator," Miller said. "So this is my refrigerator coming on and off. So if i want to reduce my energy usage one of the things I can do, is change my refrigerator to a newer version."

In order to get real time data, minute by minute, you'll need this device called an energy bridge.
It gets information from a digital smart meter, which, as Fox 2 has reported, some customers don't like and believe pose health and safety risks.

DTE denies those claims.

So far -- 1.3 million smart meters have been installed in southeast Michigan. About  2,700 customers have paid an extra fee -- to opt out.

"All the information from your meter is stored on the energy bridge," Miller said, "inside your home network. So this information never comes back to DTE."

Some viewers have expressed concerns that information like this could be used for spying or may be an invasion of privacy -- DTE said those concerns were taken into consideration when the app was developed.

"We've tested this from a cyber security standpoint to say if someone's using this app can someone break in and get into this data and the answer is no we're very confident that it's very secure," Meador said.

The app also allows customers to compare energy use on a weekly or monthly basis, set targets, get tips -- and learn about seasonal projects.

There's also a power scan -- you can hold over a power cord -- to measure how much energy its using -- and the monthly cost.

"To the extent that all of us as using less electricity, that means less power plant emissions, less carbon emissions and that's something that we're all very committed to," Meador said.

DTE  is the first utility company to make information like this available.
   
You can get the app now at the Apple app store -- and soon at the Google Play store, just search for  DTE Insight.



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