Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tracking Your Electricity Consumption

In a news release by Reuters on 17th March 2009 (Nao Nakanishi), Google Inc is reported to roll out free software which allows consumers to track their home electricity use and improve energy efficiency very soon.

Google is said to be in talks with utility companies in US, Europe and Asia to make the product available shortly to general consumers. Google Inc would use its software skills for the program that will show home energy consumption in real time on a user's computer or a telephone.

It was mentioned that according to the company, studies showed that by having access to home energy information, one can typically saves between 5% and 15% on monthly electricity bills.

As a tech savvy myself and being familiar with several other tools, this is very much a welcomed development. For a typical household monthly bill of RM250 (moderate estimate for a family with air-conditioners, automatic washing machine, fridge, audio-visual electrical appliances, etc.) one can save up to RM300 annually on electricity bills.

This is not including savings from replacing energy-guzzling equipments as a result of information gained from the usage of the software. It would be very interesting to know if the software would include predictive maintenance of equipments and appliances, including giving users some idea on performance curves, energy consumption projection, cost of replacement, and ROI in the case that one should purchase a greener (energy saving) replacement.

If the domestic consumers can save energy this way, I am convinced the bigger - the industry - consumers can save much more. Based on an integrated study I was involved in on facilities of utility company, it is possible to save energy up to 20% of the monthly bills.


Victor Wetherbee said...

This is a great idea, but I'm afraid that not all electricity consumers will be able to benefit from such a potentially complicated program. Unless Google finds a way to reduce everything to a level that's understandable by everyone, the program will most likely end up as a mere option for households.

de engineur said...

Hi Victor, I think you've got a very good point there. Tools are only good if the consumers know how to make use of them.

In fact Google have retired the service (Google PowerMeter) on September 16, 2011.

One can read the reasoning here: