Google has signed a deal to connect its PowerMeter home energy software to monitoring devices from Current Costs in the U.K.
Current Costs' energy monitors, designed to sit on kitchen tables or to hang on a wall, give people a view into their electricity consumption by displaying real-time usage and projections for monthly usage and costs.
By showing where electricity is consumed, people can take steps to conserve. For example, a person can see that current use is higher than normal and turn an appliance off, or switch to more efficient lighting and see the money savings. To "read" home energy data, the system uses a sensor that clamps on to wires where electrical service comes into a house.
By connecting to PowerMeter via Google's API, Current Costs users can now view that data through Web-enabled devices, including PCs or phones. The application can also be embedded into a Web page as a gadget.
It's the second time Google has signed a energy monitor maker to work with PowerMeter. In October, the company that makes The Energy Detective monitor announced that PowerMeter is compatible with the device.
Outside of dedicated monitors, Google is getting PowerMeter to market through utility smart-grid programs. A number of smart-meter manufacturers are supporting PowerMeter to give people a real-time view of power consumption.
In the U.S., Current Costs makes its energy monitor available through Amazon or eBay. Its middle-of-the-line Trek monitor is priced about $35.
In the U.K., utility E.On is making a PowerMeter-compatible monitor from Current Costs for free as part of an energy efficiency program, said Scott Coleman, partnership development manager at Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google which developed PowerMeter.