Google plugs in to track electricity use

Screen shot of Google PowerMeter

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Google's announced a deal to match up its Web-based energy-monitoring system, with a so-called "smart meter." It's going to track electricity usage down to the minute. From the Marketplace Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: So, here's my electric bill... and wow it's high. Problem is, all it says is how much power I used last month -- total. No detail about what hogged the most energy. But if I log onto Google's free PowerMeter program and plunk down $200 for the Energy Detective smart meter...

TOM SLY: That will allow you to actually see, as you turn things on and off, in real time, what your usage pattern for the day has been.

Tom Sly is with Google.org -- Google's nonprofit arm. He says these tools can isolate a single appliance's footprint.

SLY: To know that your cable box is using 20 watts, constantly, or that your dishwasher is really, really inefficient.

RON PERNICK: Google figured out how to visualize the Internet, so perhaps they can help people map and visualize how they use electricity.

Energy consultant Ron Pernick says Google has the right credentials to move into the energy-monitoring market. But...

PERNICK: Google's not alone. There are a handful of companies and new ones emerging every day that are looking to get into this sector.

Including major software companies and big utilities developing their own smart-meter technology.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...