(PhysOrg.com) -- Google has announced it has secured its first official device partner for Google PowerMeter, which means you can now use the software without having a smart meter installed by your utility company.
Google PowerMeter was launched earlier this year, and is a free software package for monitoring electricity usage. Until now it has only worked for homes with smart meters installed, which is only 6% of the market in North America. Smart meters are installed by utilities and provide information about electricity use more regularly than the more usual monthly. They are designed mainly to help the utilities cope with peaks and troughs in the demand for electricity.
Knowing first-hand how much energy your home is using is a powerful way to adjust your energy use. So Google decided to make electricity use data accessible to everyone, with Google PowerMeter.
After a year of talks, Google has now finalized a device partnership with Energy Inc. and its product The Energy Detective (TED). This means that anyone in North America who purchases and installs a TED 5000 will be able to use Google PowerMeter via the web or via smart phones with iGoogle if they wish to monitor their energy use. If you already have a TED 5000 a free upgrade is available for download.
One advantage of the partnership is that the software can become available for more people more quickly. Another advantage is that the TED 5000 provides more data than the smart meters, and the information is available online from Google PowerMeter at 10-minute intervals. This is significantly better than smart meter data, and the device is geared more to the consumer than to the electricity provider.
Near-immediate access to energy use information is important because the energy user is likely to be more engaged with the data, and that engagement tends to lead to changes in behavior that result in reducing the electricity use. The PowerMeter and TED 5000 combination will allow users to view almost instant data, as well as weekly trends and comparisons with other PowerMeter users.
Energy Inc.'s President and CEO, Dolph Rodenberg said he expects the partnership with Google to raise public awareness of energy use. An association with Google might also help with Energy Inc.'s efforts to raise funds.
The standard TED 5000 retails for about $200, and can be installed by anyone familiar enough with electrical components and the circuit breaker panel to be confident working with the electric panel removed. Installation is a breeze for an electrician.
Energy Inc. is the first company to become a device partner with Google PowerMeter, and Google is actively seeking more energy monitor manufacturers for possible future partnerships.
• Google PowerMeter software
• Google blog post
• TED 5000
© 2009 PhysOrg.com
Explore further: Shedding light on solar power