Google PowerMeter, Utilities Bring Energy Savings to Homes

Google has partnered with several utilities for its Google PowerMeter gadget, software that draws from "smart meters" to feed customers data about their energy consumption on their iGoogle homepage. Google plans to expand the Google PowerMeter rollout later in 2009.

The Google PowerMeter gadget, which draws information from a home "smart meter" to show customers their energy consumption, is being tested by an expanding number of utility companies, according to Google, which announced the partnerships in a May 19 corporate blog posting.

With PowerMeter installed, customers can monitor their consumption on their personal iGoogle homepage. The software requires "smart" metering devices, which are installed by the utility - hence the need for Google to partner with those power companies in order to exploit the gadget's potential.

So far, Google has partnered with utilities in California, Texas, Florida, India, Wisconsin, Missouri, Canada and Kentucky.

"Our initial partners include utilities with millions of customers as well as smaller ones. They are rural and urban, privately held and municipally run," Ed Lu of Google's engineering team wrote in a May 19 corporate blog posting. "For now, Google PowerMeter is only available to a limited group of customers, but we plan to expand our roll out later this year. Our utility partners are leading the charge to make the electricity grid smarter and we look forward to working with them and others."

Utilities interested in partnering with Google over the matter can click here.

Given the increasing popularity of "green IT," it should come as no surprise that a variety of companies have been moving into the space in a major way. February 2009 saw the release of Microsoft's Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Microsoft Dynamics AX, which allows companies to monitor and reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs.

In May 2009, SAP announced that it would acquire Clear Standards, a company that designs applications for measuring greenhouse gas emissions.