Smart meters have failed us

Despite all of the hype, smart meters are not “smart”.

With the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) and home automation, homes are smarter and more connected. Yet, the promise of smart meters has fallen short. They’re proprietary, expensive, and built for utilities. They don’t give consumers actionable information. People have a right to better understand their energy use, but smart meters have proven they aren’t the answer.

The data: Delayed and Irrelevant

Even the best smart meters only collect data once every 15 minutes and send it back to the utility once per day. Meaning that the soonest you (the user of the power) can see how much your new AC is costing you ismore than 24 hours after the fact. Even then, the data collected is for the whole home meaning that you have to guess which devices you were using 24 hours ago and how much each was using.

Built for utilities

At the end of the day the one thing that smart meters have accomplished is that they’ve eliminated a lot of meter reader jobs. Since the data eventually gets back to the utility the need for individual to read the meters at each home are no longer necessary. Call it the march of technology or just another way for utilities to boost profits, either way it’s the only thing that smart meter initiatives have successfully accomplished.

The opportunity that still exists:

Typically, 20-30% of people’s electricity bills are from the energy they didn’t actively use–lights left on, refrigerator ajar, A/C cranked up when no one’s home…but, without real time feedback and deeper granularity it’s impossible to know what contributes to excessive bills.


About Curb:

Curb helps people identify where the money they spend on energy is going. Through a combination of hardware and software, the Curb system can identify which devices are using the most amount of power in real time – all while helping to keep your home safe. Curb is always on the look out for abnormal energy consumption – so if it notices something odd like an iron accidently left on, it pushes a notification directly to your phone. Go to to learn more.

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Erik launched Curb with the goal of inspiring individuals to better manage their energy bills. Prior to Curb, he led multiple engineering teams at Boeing and then worked for an Austin-based venture capital firm identifying clean-tech investments. Erik has an MBA from the University of Texas with a focus on clean technology and entrepreneurship, a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. degree in Science, Technology and Society from Pitzer College.

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