Print 22 comment(s) - last by Shmak.. on Jul 8 at 5:38 PM


Microsoft's Hohm is a web application which aims to help users track and cut their power costs. The app looks to contend with Google's PowerMeter.  (Source: Microsoft)
Plug yourself into Microsoft

Microsoft wants you to plug yourself into its new technology.  Debuting today is Microsoft's new Hohm beta, which promises to provide homeowners with means to manage and track power usage in their homes.  The tool is a public beta so it's free for anyone to sign up for and try.

Power bills comprise a major expense for many homeowners.  For owners of small properties such as condominiums, U.S. power bills can be as little as $100 or less a month.  For owners of larger homes, power bills can soar to over $300 or more a month, though.  Power has variable costs, so if homeowners were able to run power-hungry appliances during lulls when power was cheaper, it would both ease stress on the aging power grid and cut their bills substantially.

This is the aim of new power meter technology from Microsoft, which will compete with Google's PowerMeter, the first such solution to hit the market.  Currently, the system does not physically connect to your power meter or appliances -- rather it takes in input such as your power bills and home information and uses it to generate suggestions.

The project is still in its infancy.  Explains Michaeljon Miller, software architect for Microsoft Hohm, "The team's been sitting in a conference room on campus since about 5:30 this morning watching things spin up. Considering this is the first major web application that most of the team has shipped, things went extremely well."

With Google already partnering with power meter manufacturers and utilities and beginning to deploy smart meters, don't expect Microsoft to wait long before taking the project up another notch.  The project currently is only available in the U.S.

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RE: If everyone...
By Smilin on 7/7/2009 1:57:38 PM , Rating: 3
It's not just a matter of heat. It's really more a product of how the power is produced.

For example I live near a nuke plant. They can't spin that thing up during the day then spin it back down at night. It has to run at a relatively contant rate.

To make up for the shortcomings during peak hours other generation methods are brought online. These can be as extreme as diesel powered turbines. Whatever the method used it is a far more costly method to produce power.

RE: If everyone...
By MrBlastman on 7/7/2009 2:08:15 PM , Rating: 2
That too. Very true indeed. We had a nuke plant in southern GA shut down a few times back in June and it took several days to ramp back up to full capacity. They can't just start splitting atoms like crazy, it takes time so fluctuations in total usage leads to periods of wasted production they can not easily adjust the generators for.

RE: If everyone...
By Spacy on 7/7/2009 10:31:14 PM , Rating: 3
I am a Power Engineer in Alberta and I well tell you right now that this is a great idea. At night a number of power plants (Co-Gen and some coal) shut off. During the day there is not enofe generating capcity to keep up with demand and thereby drive the priceses higher. If we started to use more power at night and less for the day. Causing prices not to be driven as high to keep down demand. We will keep plants running at night that cost a good deal of money to start up and shut down. This well also reduce the need to build more plants to keep up with the day demand. Prices, well drop, for the cost of power but I only hope that the companies pass the savings on to us

RE: If everyone...
By Spacy on 7/7/2009 10:35:11 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry Grammer needs some work I know, but still my comment has points

RE: If everyone...
By Smilin on 7/8/2009 11:58:50 AM , Rating: 2
I'd +1 you just for the insight provided.

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