Energy supplier EDF Energy is giving away an energy monitor-style gadget that allow users to monitor and control electrical appliances, such as TVs, stereos, and microwaves, from anywhere in the house.
Like regular energy monitors, the EcoManager displays the amount of electricity being used and how much it’s costing the consumer. However, the ability to see how much individual appliances are using, particularly when they’re left on standby, is a feature we’ve not seen before.
Switch off appliances remotely
The user plugs the appliances they want to keep an eye on into transmitter plugs, which relay real-time energy use information to the display unit. These appliances can also be switched off completely from the display unit – meaning no more journeys around the house switching things off individually.
EDF Energy’s business-to-consumer director Jim Poole said: ‘Customers can plug the devices into existing sockets and transform the way they monitor and control their energy use.’
The EcoManager is free to customers that sign up to EDF Energy’s standard tariff for 18 months (if you leave early, you’ll have to pay a £50 fee to cover the cost of the device). Alternatively, it’s on sale direct from the supplier’s website for £70, which makes it far more expensive than any of the energy monitors we’ve tested (our cheapest Best Buy costs less than £30).
Free EcoManager offer not the best
However, buying outright is probably a better bet, according to Which? energy monitor researcher Hazel Cottrell: ‘If you’re tempted by the free offer then bear in mind that EDF Energy’s cheapest online tariff, Online Saver v7, is substantially cheaper than its standard tariff.
‘For example, an average dual fuel household in the East Midlands switching from the standard tariff to Online Save v7 could buy the EcoManager outright and still pocket almost £80 extra due to the lower prices. And as EcoManager works with any electricity tariff, they could save over £150 by switching to Eon’s SaveOnline 3, currently the cheapest tariff in their area.’
‘Whether you need the added functions of this energy monitor is another question. There are plenty of actions you can take to cut your energy bills, so before you splash out on the EcoManager, make sure you’ve checked out the simple tips in our guide to using less electricity first.’
To find out which energy monitors we rate as Best Buys, see our energy monitors review. You can also take our energy monitors quiz and watch our energy monitors video guide to see if an energy monitor could help you cut your bills.
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