At the place I live, the electricity meter looks like this:
The fancy display shows total kilowatt hours and maximum power consumption, but it doesn't show current consumption. Instead it has this blinking red light - the faster it blinks, the higher the power consumption. But to get the actual figure, I'd have to count how many times it blinked, measure the time and then do some arithmetic. And that would be pedestrian. Instead I wrote an application for my phone that does the measurements (with the phone's camera) and displays the current power consumption:
Here's the source code if anyone's interested.