Powerpal app lowers electricity bills and cuts emissions
By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>
POWERPAL is an app that can cut electricity household bills and reduce the home carbon footprint.
The app has so far reduced CO2 emissions by 21,388 tonnes and helped Australians save $6,955,723, since November 2020, according to Peter Neal, the founder and CEO.
According to Mr Neal, Powerpal works “much like a Fitbit for homes”.
“Your Fitbit provides you with a real time instant feedback on your exercise routine and it will give you prompts to say you’ve been sitting for too long or maybe you should go for a walk this afternoon. What Powerpal does is exactly the same thing but it’s like a Fitbit for your home,” Mr Neal told Talking Business.
“It will tell you in real time how your home is using energy and then give you tips on ways you can change or adjust your energy use to either improve your energy bills or reduce your environmental footprint.
“It’s an app and the Powerpal product fits on the household electricity meter with magnets that stick on to the meter box. It takes about 60 seconds to install. The app takes the data from the energy meter and displays it on phones in real time.”
Mr Neal said the universal response so far has been people running around their homes holding the app and closing down systems like air conditioners “as they are costing them a fortune”.
“We’ve had people report they’ve reduced their energy use by up to 50 percent,” he said.
Mr Neal said on average people reduced their energy bills by 6.6 percent.
DEVELOPED THROUGH EXPERIENCE
Peter Neal and his crew have used their expertise in customer engagement when they ran a telecommunications business.
Powerpal gets $160 for each product it installs which covers its product costs, marketing costs and installation costs as it requires a registered installer, and then takes some margin for profit.
Powerpal started in Victoria as part of the Victorian energy upgrades program. The project kicked off in February 2020 and got three weeks in when COVID-19 hit and it had to be mothballed for six months because the company could not go to people’s homes. It then re-started in November 2020.
During the second lockdown, it was fortunate as the system gained an exemption for “solo home installation”.
Powerpall is now planning to expand to New South Wales and has been in discussions with the state government there.
“We’re very much reliant on these government schemes,” Mr Neal said. “I think if we hadn’t had the backing of the Victorian Government, it would have been very difficult for us to get started.”
TAKING TECH FURTHER AFIELD
Mr Neal said Powerpal was now looking at rolling out products that go beyond energy monitoring.
These are potentially global applications and will be funded through different models.
“The plan is very much to use Victoria and Australia as our beachhead and then take our technology off to California, Europe and the UK and go and deliver those benefits to as many places as we can.”
He said Powerpal did not necessarily need good relationships with utilities because it operated “like WhatsApp for energy”.
“We don’t have to integrate with the utility at all,” Mr Neal said “We’re like an OTT player that sits on top of all the infrastructure.
“It gives you this benefit where rather than having to sign up all these little contracts with every kind of energy retailer globally, you just go for it.
“Our technology is compatible with any digital electricity meter and there’s over a billion of them out there so there’s plenty of market to go at.”
Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.