Googles Announces PowerMeter

NyTimes has an article about Google’s announcement today.

Google Taking a Step Into Power Metering

Published: February 9, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO — Google will announce its entry Tuesday into the small but growing business of “smart grid,” digital technologies that seek to both keep the electrical system on an even keel and reduce electrical energy consumption.

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Times Topics: Google Inc.

Google is one of a number of companies devising ways to control the demand for electric power as an alternative to building more power plants. The company has developed a free Web service called PowerMeter that consumers can use to track energy use in their house or business as it is consumed.

Google is counting on others to build devices to feed data into PowerMeter technology. While it hopes to begin introducing the service in the next few months, it has not yet lined up hardware manufacturers.

“We can’t build this product all by ourselves,” said Kirsten Olsen Cahill, a program manager at, the company’s corporate philanthropy arm. “We depend on a whole ecosystem of utilities, device makers and policies that would allow consumers to have detailed access to their home energy use and make smarter energy decisions.”

“Smart grid” is the new buzz phrase in the electric business, encompassing a variety of approaches that involve more communication between utility operators and components of the grid, including transformers, power lines, customer meters and even home appliances like dishwashers.

Google continues to grab the mindshare, and leveraging President Obama’s changes.

The stimulus bill now going to a House-Senate conference committee has allocated $4.4 billion for “smart” technologies, including four million of these next-generation monitors, called smart meters. Proponents say that could make more effective use of existing power lines and generate employment.

“You can hire a lot of people to install smart meters,” said James Hoecker, a former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has some jurisdiction over transmission lines.

Also, thanks to OSIsoft’s Pat Kennedy for forwarding this article, and reminding me we had talked about this idea a couple of years ago, and it is interesting to see Google is a  market player.