Google Powermeter Arrives in UK

Google-powermeterGoogle [GOOG] have launched the Google Powermeter service for people in the UK. The tool is based online and allows households to monitor their energy usage so that you know exactly what could be switched off.

The system has already been trialled in the US, and makes use of smart meters to relay information over to the web about how much power you are actually using. If you don’t have a new smart meter then you can purchase an add-on clip that works with regular power meters.

Once your meter is hooked up to the web and the Powermeter service from Google you can then log on from anywhere in the world to see how much power your set-top box and any lights left on are actually using which by being shown in graph form could help sway you to think if you actually need something switching on and left in standby while not in use.

A survey that gathered energy saving data for people using such systems to track energy usage found that on average a 3 – 15% saving could be had which could mean a £75 saving per year for those using the new service.

To get the service to work you do need either a smart meter or a gadget called AlertMe. However, the gadget does cost £69 to buy with a £3/month subscription which basically puts the cost at £105 for the first year followed by £36/year. If we go by the energy saving % of 3 – 15% it could mean that those in the lower 3% bracket might actually not benefit from this. (Ie, if my personal savings came in at 3% then I’d only save £10.60/year based on my bills and end up paying £36+£69 to find that out). Hopefully another clip will come out that you just hook up to your own internet connection rather than paying a monthly subscription fee as that puts me off the service especially that it would only take a few days to get you to realise where you were wasting electricity and once that step is taking, viewing graphs would probably become quite boring.

AlertMe employees have claimed savings of £300 – £400 by stopping the usage of immersion heaters (although that’s an obvious expense that Google Powermeter doesn’t need to point out).

I’m not entirely convinced of a subscription based model although I do like the idea… it just seems odd to have to potentially pay more than what you are saving.

Via: Guardian

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