James Straub

Local Business Seeking Grant for Device to Reduce Electricity Bills



James Straub
Richard Merrill explains how an eMonitor is designed to monitor electricity usage in a house.

BLUE HILL — A local business is seeking a grant that could help some 50 households in the Blue Hill area greatly reduce their electricity bills, while creating a baseline of electric usage on the peninsula.

Richard Merrill, president of PowerWise Systems, said the company is applying for a grant from Efficiency Maine to install about 50 eMonitor devices in single-family homes.

Merrill of Brooksville, PowerWise CEO Carsten Steenberg of Penobscot and Nielsen Van Duijn of Blue Hill invented the original eMonitor in 2007 and started Powerhouse Dynamics 2008.

Merrill said the fledgling company attracted outside investors and “really took off,” eventually relocating to Boston under new leadership.

Merrill and Steenberg stayed behind and founded PowerWise, an authorized eMonitor dealer.

More than 1,500 of the monitor systems have been sold since they went on the market three years ago.

Merrill said PowerWise wants to put 50 of the devices in area homes.

“We want to make this community project a model for the country and we think 50 homes are representative of the community,” he said.

The eMonitor is considered unique among energy monitors because it is capable of monitoring each and every electrical circuit in a house.

“As soon as you get this you start thinking about how you’re using energy,” Merrill said.

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James Straub

Reporter at Ellsworth American
Former Ellsworth American reporter James Straub covered the towns on Deer Isle and the Blue Hill Peninsula. He lives in Brooklin.