SmartThings Community

Cheap and easy Power Outage Notifications

Got the 1st Gen Aeon Labs whole house energy meter for $9.99. It reports total kWh used (increments) as well as current Wattage being used (fluctuates).

Using Core setup 2 Pistons:
Using Capability: Power Meter (not Energy Meter)

  1. Drops below 25W send Power Outage alert
  2. Raises Above 25W send Power Back Up alert

Or Without Core, use Energy Alert SmartApp:
Go into Marketplace --> SmartApps --> Energy Management --> Energy Alerts
Setup an Power Outage Alert for when it Reports Below 25W and when it Reports Above 25W.

This meter can run on batteries or AC power. It will report every 5 minutes on AC power and every 10 minutes on battery power. It will transition to battery power if it loses AC power. The caveat is that once it transitions from AC power to battery power, it won’t go back to AC power unless you pull the batteries. So when you first set it up and add it to Z-Wave network, you need to use AC power only, then with it still plugged in, you can add batteries. After you lose power, and power comes back on, you’ll need to pull a battery and put it back in to force it to go back to AC power. You’ll obviously need to use batteries in order for your energy meter to be powered when you lose power. You’ll also need to have your internet router and cable modem be on battery backup (UPS) in order for the notification to be sent out.
If you lose power, it can take up to 10 minutes to get a notification.

Edit: It may actually convert back to AC power when it comes back up. It goes back to reporting every 5 minutes but the light doesn’t come on.

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I’m confused. If your whole house power went out, all this device does is notify your hub.

If your hub’s power went out, then that’s the end of the chain. Nothing will happen.

If the hub is running on battery, it’s still can’t send you any notifications. It can’t talk to your phone even if they’re both on the same local network. It won’t send any notifications once it’s on battery.

You could get a notification once the power comes back on, but I don’t think that’s what most people are looking for.

What am I missing here?

If it’s a whole house power outage, you’ll get the hub off-line notification pretty quickly from the cloud when the cloud can’t talk to the hub.

I don’t see this device adding anything new to that.

My Cable Modem, Router, and ST Hub are on a cheap UPS battery backup . Even when I lose power I usually still have Cable so still have internet as long as I keep my modem and router powered.

Eventually I also plan on getting a 4G capable router that will automatically failover to 4G cellular if the cable goes down. Would use a cheap 4G plan for around $3/mo ($10 for 90days) just for ST in case of power failure. It can also do WiFi as WAN so if you have any free WiFi spots near you, it can also automatically use that as a failover.

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OK, then this method is easy, but it’s not cheap unless someone already has the same set up that you do. And it’s still dependent on the Internet to send the notification.

It’s good to have choices, and I think this is a good device to bring up in context.

Correct, but the UPS I have is fairly cheap at $40, but I’m sure you can get cheaper ones. These aren’t very power hungry devices.

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Re the “Reports Above…” setting on the smartapp: does that only trigger when that threshold is crossed or continuously while that limit is exceeded? I’m testing now, so hopefully it’s just when crossed.

Also, I’ve similarly put my hub, router, and cable modem all on backup power system. I have wifi calling and online reporting of power outages, so I like having the redundancy available. Plus, I like to stream music to a bluetooth speaker while I sit in relative darkness and read a book next to an oil lamp.

Correct, it only reports once, when it crosses the threshold. That’s why you have to use Raises Above and Drops Below.

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Thanks for confirming. I like the term you used, “Rises Above”, much better than the in-app term of “Reports Above”. It’s been “reporting above” 25W the whole time :wink:

I’m actually using CORE, which has Raises Above, and Drops Below.

I tried using the Energy Alerts app, but it only notified me when power was out, and would not alert me when it came back up.

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