Earlier this year, Google announced the development of a gadget called Google PowerMeter which delivers personal electricity usage data to consumers on their individual computers. This effort took a big step forward on Wednesday of this week when Google announced a list of eight initial electric utilities that will serve as partners.
United by a common interest in connecting their customers with personal consumption data, the diverse list of partners includes utilities from India, Canada and the United States. The partnering utilities range in size from small providers to ones with millions of customers.
The full list of partnering utilities is as follows:
* 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)
One of the larger utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has been partnering with Google throughout the past year and now has plans to install over 200,000 smart meters this year. By 2011, SDG&E estimates that they will have their entire territory of 1.4 million customers equipped with smart meters. According to a New York Times post, San Diego Gas & Electric has indicated that their smart meter customers should be able to access their energy usage data via the Google PowerMeter before the end of this year.
Google is not the only tech company working hard to bring energy data to customers via the Internet. As a smart energy grid evolves, so will energy management applications the applications that deliver usage data into the hands of the customers. By doing so, it is estimated that customers can reduce their energy usage by 5% – 10%.
In addition to listing the eight utility partners, Google also announced their partnership with smart meter maker, Itron. Although Google and others in the field of home energy management have discussed whether or not they actually require partnerships with utilities and smart meters in order to deliver these data services, it certainly helps Google’s efforts to have solidified the partnerships. The Google partnership is helping Itron as well, as indicated by Itron shares being up about 3.7% on Wednesday.
There a number of players in this field and more will emerge as partnerships such as these are formed. However, as usual, Google appears to be taking the lead.