That is very true. Even in the U.S. Sprint just went through and bricked close to 15% of their Samsung Intercept phones when they pushed 2.2 OTA. Samsung then went back and released a fix for the issue which bricked another 10% of phones on top of the existing 15%. It seems XDA are the only people on the planet who can release reliable firmware for Samsung phones, even more so then the manufacturer.
I have been using a custom Phidgets for the past couple years to monitor electrical usage in my house. I have one of these http://www.phidgets.com/products.php?category=8&product_id=3503 to monitor each branch circuit in my electrical panel. I then have http://www.phidgets.com/products.php?category=0&product_id=1018 this connected to my main pc to do all the data logging. I have written a custom c++ application to dump the raw data into a mysql database and then i have PHP to query data and datasets for reporting.
This comes close to your budget if you only need to monitor a couple circuits. If you monitor all 26 of your branch circuits in your house, then this can become fairly expensive compared to your budget however all the other electrical monitoring agents you will find will be several THOUSAND dollars for some "professional enterprise data center solution" to do the same amount of logging and same features which the phidgets can do for 1/10 the price. Instead of spending $10,000 you spend maybe $500 for the same or better features and compatibility.