Meet the set-&-forget device that will slash your power bills

June 30th, 2017

Appliance News Appliance Talk

In 2015 our CEO, John Winning, hopped into an Uber and met a man named David Soutar. It was a meeting that would change the world.

Yes that’s a big call, but when you hear the story, we think you’ll agree it was a pretty auspicious encounter…

It all started with a revolutionary idea

David Soutar’s the fella with the glasses in the photo above. He wasn’t driving the Uber that day in 2015; he was actually taking part in an investment pitch event called UberPitch – where a bunch of entrepreneurs get a 15 minute Uber ride with a few prospective investors.

David was one of those entrepreneurs. He was seeking funds for a revolutionary household device he’d invented, called Wattcost.

What’s Wattcost? It’s an energy-saving device that David conceived 5 years ago, but which had been brewing for nearly 2 decades.

Where did the journey begin?

You see, David had spent 20 years working in consumer electronics, architecture and commercial building design, for the likes of Honeywell, Fosters and Philips. He’d developed innovative energy-efficiency solutions for big businesses, which saved them lots of money by monitoring the power consumption of their buildings, equipment, plants and processes, and dynamically recommending – and even implementing – changes.

But regular consumers weren’t being given the same opportunities to cut costs. Where was the intelligent energy-efficiency solution for the regular household? It simply didn’t exist. And David was finding that absence increasingly frustrating.

So he decided to create one. A self-sufficient, reliable and accurate device that regular householders could simply stick inside their meter box, and which would offer the average person the chance to make real changes to their power bill and lifestyle.

And he’d spent the 3 years leading up to his meeting with John doing it.

Then the idea started taking shape

In 2012, David quit his job and set up in Fishburners, a tech startup co-working office in Sydney’s CBD.  

He then set about gathering the best possible team to realise his vision. Fortunately, David’s idealism, drive and commitment to the environment seemed infectious. Within just a few months, he’d assembled a team of highly-motivated, intelligent engineers and data-scientists (one of them a US Academy Award winner for his personal contribution to digital audio and another the inventor and co-patent holder of the Amazon Kindle screen technology).

The idea was becoming a reality. Now they just had to build it.

They built some prototypes

With their combined experience in innovative hardware, technology, engineering and data science, the team applied their expertise to the production of the first Wattcost prototype.

The first prototype could only detect the flashing LED indicator on new electricity meters (most electricity meters are still the older mechanical spinning DISC type) and required a car battery to keep the WiFi transmitter running.

5 more prototypes followed. The team developed an entirely new low-power Wi-Fi technology to ensure accurate and seamless communication from outdoors to indoors, a new optical sensor technology and also a highly-efficient battery solution to keep the device running for months on end. (Ironically, most electricity meter boxes don’t have a power outlet.)

They perfected the product

By early 2017, they had a complete, marketable product. The product David had first envisioned for the everyday consumer.

Easy installation

It’s all set up in 3 easy steps. All you have to do is download the free app, connect the Wattcost Beacon to your home Wi-Fi network, and attach the small self-adhesive sensor to the front of your electricity meter (it even works with the older style DISC meters, inside fuse boxes and with two extra sensors on solar systems).

Once attached, its 4 regular alkaline batteries keep it ticking along for about six months, constantly gathering data and learning about your energy usage.

Real-time power consumption info

Wattcost sends intelligent notifications to your mobile phone and provides a detailed overview of your home’s energy performance. It tells you exactly how much you’re spending in real-time and how much your appliances are using, and it tracks your budget and household’s carbon footprint.

Power saving recommendations

Say you’ve got an appliance drawing too much power – a malfunctioning fridge, air conditioner or chest freezer. Your power bill won’t tell you what the problem is, it will just show a big dollar figure. By contrast, Wattcost learns where you can pay less, and sends accurate, personalised suggestions on where you can save more, based on what’s actually happening in your household.


Connecting via its stable Wi-Fi, Wattcost continuously learns from your energy use and sends intelligent notifications to your smartphone via the free app. No annoying messages or meaningless sales pitches – it’s designed to help you, believe it or not!

Safety alerts

It’s even geared towards your safety. You know that particular paranoia associated with leaving the iron, stove or heater on? Wattcost will tell you when you’ve done that!

Power provider recommendations

As it regularly calculates your usage and expenditure, Wattcost lets you compare and switch energy plans and providers to match your lifestyle, all at the touch of a button.

And then David met John – in an Uber!

Wattcost was just about ready for the world, but it needed the support of an investor to fund its final development stages.

So David booked a place at Uber PITCH 2015, and it just so happened that John was one of the investors participating that year.

David already knew of John and respected him as a like-minded forward-thinker. He had great admiration for the way John had built his online appliance business from a small room in Edgecliff to become one of Australia’s leading online retailers. So when John’s Uber rolled around, David jumped at the chance to meet with him. They talked for 15 minutes, and it quickly became obvious there was a great synergy.  

John was immediately attracted to the product and Wattcost’s ultimate goal of a carbon-zero future. This was a fellow Aussie company driven by progressive and meaningful values. He recognised a real passion for change in Wattcost. Something special had been born.

Wattcost cut John’s power bill by 32%!

John was so energised by the idea that he asked if he could install a trial Wattcost in his own home.

Within 3 months, it had delivered dramatic results. The mobile app recommended he replace a malfunctioning fridge (yes, a fridge!), adjust the timing of his pool-pump, and make some small adjustments to his air-conditioning use. By following those simple recommendations, John cut his quarterly energy bill by 32%.

It can do the same for you

After seeing the dramatic impact Wattcost had on his own power bill, John is keen to get others on board.

“I’ve tested this device out in my own home, and it’s incredibly simple to use. I downloaded the app and it gave me realistic changes that helped me save a lot of money. The best thing about it is its carbon footprint info and personalised suggestions – I can see the difference my changes are making to the environment, and I have the option to compare energy prices to find the best possible provider. I’d love if every Appliances Online customer had one of these. Imagine the difference we could make together.”

Get your Wattcost

Wattcost are about to start their first full manufacturing run, and they’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to fund it. They’d love for you to get on board.

As part of their crowdfunding campaign, you can lock in your pre-order for $199, which is a saving of $50 off the RRP of $249. Best of all, when Wattcost have reached their campaign target they’ll get Australian manufacturing underway.

So please, get involved and help this innovative, socially-conscious Australian company reduce carbon emissions and save our environment. And make some big savings on your power bill in the process. It’s a win-win!

You can read more about this incredible Aussie technology on Wattcost’s website.


Poet, music obsessive, and full-time existentialist. Oh, and I write a bit of copy.

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