Google's PowerMeter Web application can now track home electricity from a PC or smartphone using Wi-Fi and a home's broadband connection.
Blue Line Innovations is expected to announce a deal tomorrow to tie its PowerCost Monitor to Google's PowerMeter for monitoring home energy. Combined with a WiFi Gateway sold by Blue Line Innovations, a person can get real-time and historical information on electricity use. PowerMeter also lets people create a home energy budget, share efficiency tips, and predict costs.
Getting more information on energy use is meant to help people find ways to conserve. For example, a person can see a home's "baseline" electricity use to help locate appliances to turn off. Monitor makers reports people can save roughly 5 percent to 15 percent on electricity based on changes from more information.
In July, Microsoft and Blue Line Innovations announced a similar deal where people can track electricity data using Microsoft's Hohm Web application, a competitor to Google PowerMeter. Both Web applications are free.
Smart meters have the ability to track this electricity data as well, even with more fine-grained detail. But using a home broadband connection and do-it-yourself installation opens up online electricity monitoring to a much broader base of potential customers.
The PowerCost Monitor kit, which costs about $100, includes a sensor that fits onto an electricity meter. The sensor reads how much power is being used and transmits that information to the monitor, which is a simple display a bit bigger than a smart phone.
With the WiFi Gateway, which costs an additional $129, usage information is sent via a home broadband connection to Google, letting people view electricity data online.
Google has established connections between PowerMeter and a few home electricity monitors and smart meters. Over time, executives have said Google intends to expand the capabilities of the application beyond electricity monitoring to track water, natural gas, and potentially schedule electric vehicle charging.
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