Google unveils energy saving software for consumers


Mountain View, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — February 10, 2009 – Google is to today unveil its PowerMeter – an online tool to show consumers their electricity consumption in near real-time.

According to Ed Lu of Google’s engineering team, the company’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” and as such it believes that consumers have a right to detailed information about their home electricity use.

“Most people don’t know how much electricity their appliances use, where in the house they are wasting electricity, or how much the bill might go up during different seasons. But in a world where everyone had a detailed understanding of their home energy use, we could find all sorts of ways to save energy and lower electricity bills,” says Lu in a blog post.

PowerMeter is a software tool that users sign up for and receives information from utility smart meters and energy management devices. Access to an analysis of the home electricity consumption is provided on the user’s iGoogle homepage.

The PowerMeter is currently in prototype as it undergoes testing by Google employees, but is expected to become available to the public later in the year. In the meantime, the company is building partnerships with utilities and independent device manufacturers to gradually roll this out in pilot programs, Lu says.

“Once we’ve had a chance to kick the tires, we’ll make the tool more widely available.”

In related activity Google recently filed comments with California’s Public Utilities Commission on its smart grid deployment, encouraging the agency to adopt smart grid policies that direct the provision of electricity usage data to consumers in real-time. In particular Google urged the Commission to include in its smart grid policy the principles that consumers should have direct access to real-time electricity usage information and that electricity usage information should be freely available to consumers, and that electricity usage data should be made available in a standardized, open format, freely available to third-parties with permission from the consumer.