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Google's PowerMeter helps homeowners track and cut their power use, saving money and the environment. The site recently announced a number of utility partners, and has started deploying to customers.  (Source: Google)
Going green and saving green is finally becoming hassle-free thanks to Google

Google talks a lot about alternative energy and promoting the adoption of a green lifestyle as part of the company's "do no evil" policy.  Google has been working hard both on the power front, investing in promising alternative energy startups, and on the consumer front, releasing Google PowerMeter, a unique Google Gadget that lets users track their home power consumption.

However, many dismissed the new widget as useless as it relied on "smart meters", special power meters which could communicate it.  After all, there were no such meters at the time.

Undeterred, Google went out and solved this problem and has now announced a number of initial smart meter partners, including San Diego Gas & Electric (California), TXU Energy (Texas), JEA (Florida), Reliance Energy (India), Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (Wisconsin), White River Valley Electric Cooperative (Missouri), Toronto Hydro–Electric System Limited (Canada), Glasgow EPB (Kentucky).

The utility partners are a picture of diversity, covering three different countries.  Google engineer Ed Lu describes, "Our initial partners include utilities with millions of customers as well as smaller ones. They are rural and urban, privately held and municipally run... They all have one thing in common — a desire to serve their customers by providing access to detailed information that helps save energy and money."

The only bad news is that for now, the deployment will be limited to a small group of customers with each utility.  Google and its partners plan to ramp up their efforts, though, after testing.

Google has also partnered with hardware manufacturer Itron, a leading make of power meter that serves over 8,000 utilities, also providing data management services.  The company will begin putting Google's technology in some of its new power meters.

At a trivial cost, communications with appliances -- washers, driers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and microwaves -- could be relayed to the meter.  As more data sources pour in and more partners jump aboard, this could become another big project at Google.  After all, most would be happy to save the environment if they could save money while doing it and avoid major hassles -- and that's exactly what Google's PowerMeter helps customers achieve.

To check out the program yourself go here.

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RE: Saving the environment...
By Mitch101 on 5/20/2009 3:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
Thats where I am hoping to see them. I read an article not long ago that I cannot find. Apparently all the small items being plugged in are what is causing the majority of the issues with power companies not being able to keep up with demands and most have no specifications on power draw. Some draw just as much power when off. Its these phantom devices that are costing a lot to consumers.

Im not for more regulation but the power draw should be listed on all devices if not an average use figure.

RE: Saving the environment...
By fic2 on 5/20/2009 6:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, I went back and reread your original posting. I misunderstood it the initial time I read it. I thought you said you hoped devices like refrigerators would have a sticker on them, not what you actually said which was you wish ALL devices had stickers on them like the stickers on refrigerators. I give myself a D for reading comprehension.

I agree with what you said - that all devices should have power draw listed.

I think CA was talking about passing that at one point last year. Like you said the phantom draw (power draw when the device is "off") can be just as much as when it is on.

Things are getting better, though. LCD tvs have an "off" draw of around 5W or less now. But games boxes are pretty much 100% power draw all the time as are most chargers (phone, etc).

RE: Saving the environment...
By Mitch101 on 5/20/2009 8:51:54 PM , Rating: 2
No prob and my apologies also it sounds like I was getting testy also.

Guess were all tired of getting dollared (cant say its nickled and dimed) to death with my electric bill was what?

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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