(non-cloud/local) WiFi Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring for Australia (2023)

Hi all,

Question:
Are there WiFi Smart Plugs available in Australia with Energy Monitoring which do not require me to sign up to vendor-clouds and simply work with Home Assistant out of the box (no flashing)? I would really like to start out with as little issues as possible to keep my wife on my side in this endeavour.

Somewhat related question:
Should I even bother starting with WiFi or just wait for good Matter devices to hit the market in ~half a year? If they implement the Matter standard, HA should be able to use them w/o further flashing/praying/jumping-through-hoops?

Background:
I am just starting out on my smart-home journey. To get my wife interested, I want to start with some small additions which will show us useful information without breaking the bank. I already ordered some Shelly EMs to monitor our solar panels and energy consumption (how much do we take and feed into the grid, how much do we consume of our own solar energy and how much do we consume overall). We would also like to get a better understanding of how much energy our big appliances use (stove - Shelly; dishwasher, fridge, washing machine, server rack). I am therefore looking for a smart switch with energy monitoring. I have fairly decent WiFi coverage and most of my computers/laptops are connected via GbEthernet, so I don’t have all that many devices on WiFi at the moment, so congestion should not be an issue. I hope that there are WiFi plugs available as I would like to avoid having to invest in Zigbee/Z-Wave/… at the moment. I also would like to avoid any interferences with the 2.4 GHz WiFi.

Problems:
I like that WiFi plugs seem to be cheap and one can get a set of four for plugs for 69AUD at the local hardware store (https://www.bunnings.com.au/arlec-grid-connect-smart-plug-in-socket-with-energy-meter-4-pack_p0273368). Looking at the integration discussion about the device it seems however that I have to start praying that I receive old enough stock so that I can flash them and then keep on praying that the flashing is successful and the plugs will show all functionality in HA. These Kogan ones seem to have similar issues: https://www.kogan.com/au/buy/kogan-smarterhometm-smart-plug-with-energy-meter-5v-2a-usb-ac-ports-4-pack-kogan/. Unfortunately it seems that even finding a good smart-plug in the forums does not necessarily mean that after a year has passed since the question was asked that the plug is still usable with Home Assistant (e.g. firmware update issues with TP-Link devices).

Looking forward to hear ideas and proposals on what to do.

Current Oz favourite appears to be the TP-Link Kasa KP115. It’s a compact WiFi plug with energy monitoring. Costs about $30 (sometimes on offer for about $20).
You need the app and an account for the initial setup to detect the plug and get them onto the network, but after that HA uses a local connection for control and sensors, not via the cloud.

Athom do one. Not sure if certified for use in aus? You’d have to look up the regulations. But it’s tasmota.

Will it send notifications based on power usage. I have a washing machine that has no end of cycle beep or anything that drives me mad and I want something to tell me it’s finished.

The power consumption data is pretty timely, and I can predict the end of the cycle pretty accurately for my washing machine and dishwasher. I created a binary sensor for each plug that observes the power consumption and turns on and off accordingly. I then use the HA app to send myself a notification about the binary sensor’s status change.

I’m having trouble finding the KP115 in stock.

I would prefer a solution that is natively supported.

Has anyone found a good alternative?

I do have a great alternative that I am using throughout my house. There is only one down side. There is a bit of work to re-configure them to get them off their own cloud service and working with Home Assistant. But once done, they are great, including reporting the watts being used.

The device is the “Meross Smart Plug”, check on Amazon to see what they look like. But, the ones llabelled with Homekit will absolutely not work, get the ones without Homekit support.

BUT, in order to get them to work, you firstly need to install a TLS Certificate on your Home Assistant instance, then you need a spare intel device that you can run a new instance of Linux on, and use that with some downloaded tools to reprogram the device.

Instructions are here:

I could post my instructions which might be a bit easier to follow if you want to go this way. The new plugs changed something inside, and they need a little different procedure than the older plugs. The details are in those notes, but maybe not the easiest to follow.

The OZsmartthings Smartplug v2 I would reccomend over that if they want a plug and play solution as that works out of the box via zigbee, I have 4 of them at the moment replacing the tuya based lenovo plugs that rely on the API calls back to their servers.

I would steer well clear of the Kasa KP105/KP115 smart plugs. They have a design flaw where a capacitor fails due to internal heat buildup in the device after a year or two. I purchase 5 units a few years ago and 4 have since failed with the same fault. The scary thing is that when they fail the resulting behaviour is the the internal relay switches on/off is a continuous cycle at 1 second intervals accompanied by a continuous clicking sound. You risk damaging expensive equipment it is feeding when they fail and they will. I think that is why they have been withdrawn from the Australian market last year but if you have some in use be very wary. One of mine was replaced under warranty with a TP-Link Tapo P100 model which looks identical except for the branding and the app. I would strongly suspect the Tapo units have the same design flaw so I am only using it on Xmas tree lights where if it does fail the same way as the Kasa units it will not damage the connected load. The rest of my Kasa KP105’s are now in the bin and replaced by Meross smart plugs.

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