Want to find out how that cold snap last night is going to affect your monthly utility bill? Or whether or not you should do your wash in the morning, afternoon or night? If you're one of the 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania served by PPL Electric Utilities, you can now check out your hourly usage data via their Web site.
The application is made possible by technology from Aclara, which provides advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). PPL customers can see bill highlights, look at a breakdown of how certain appliances affect electricity usage, compare their usage to similar households, and receive tips for reducing their bill. They will also be able to receive an estimate toward their next bill. PPL will eventually develop new services using the information it's collecting with the Aclara software, such as a time-of-use rate option that will let consumers plan their usage amounts.
This video provides a synopsis of the application, as deployed by PPL.