PowerMeter, the online home electricity monitoring tool from Google, is now available for UK customers.
The PowerMeter service is free, and monitors the energy that your home is using via and in-home energy management devices.
The AlertMe energy system is claimed to be the only self-install system that is currently compatible with PowerMeter in the UK.
Alternatively, customers of energy supplier First Utility who are on the company’s ‘smart tariff’ with a pre-installed smart meter will also be able to take advantage of Google’s new service from November 2009.
AlertMe energy kit
According to AlertMe, its kit is comprised of a meter reader that clips simply to your home’s electricity meter, a hub that plugs into your home broadband connection, and access to an online AlertMe dashboard. The kit is available to buy now for £69, plus a £3 monthly subscription.
The online dashboard is web-based meaning it’s accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, including smartphones, and the service also integrates with Google PowerMeter which can be viewed on users’ iGoogle home page.
Energy use is displayed on-screen, using graphs to show daily, weekly or monthly energy use, and enabling comparison with previous time periods and with regional averages.
PowerMeter monitors energy usage
By monitoring their energy usage, it’s hoped that consumers will see the impact on their electricity bills of overfilling kettles, leaving TVs and set-top boxes on standby, using and leaving lights on.
Studies quoted by the Energy Saving Trust have shown that smart meters can reduce household energy bills by between 5% and 10%.
‘Many consumers feel they can’t protect themselves from rising energy costs or do anything to stop climate change. However, more than a quarter of all energy use happens in our homes,’ said Pilgrim Beart, founder and CEO, AlertMe.
‘Our partnership with Google PowerMeter puts your home energy consumption right in front of you every time you go online.’
Which? calls for understandable energy bills
Which energy campaigner Dr Fiona Cochrane said: ‘Google PowerMeter looks like a great development for helping people understand their energy use, and with the we can expect to see many similar products entering the market.
‘Whatever the tool, it’s important that it gives consumers understandable information such as how much their energy is costing them, and that their data is kept safe.
‘While many people will choose to buy these products, it’s important that everyone has access to this sort of information – this is why Which? is calling for the mandatory rollout of energy display units alongside smart meters.’
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