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Summary:

Google’s web-based energy management tool PowerMeter could gain access to up to a million new users through a new gadget partnership with Current Cost.

Google’s web-based energy management tool PowerMeter could gain access to up to a million new users through a new gadget partnership announced on Monday. Current Cost, which has sold 1 million energy monitoring devices, has agreed to begin offering devices that are compatible with Google PowerMeter, and also give existing customers an option to upgrade their tools to start using Google’s software.

In addition, UK utility E.ON is working with Current Cost to offer its customers an energy monitor that’s compatible with Google PowerMeter as part of a free “starter pack” containing an energy monitor and software.

According to Scott Colerman, partnership development manager for the search giant’s philanthropic arm Google.org, who wrote about the new partnership on the Google.org blog this morning, Current Cost represents the “largest global supplier of real time displays for monitoring energy use.”

Current Cost now has two options listed on its website for UK consumers looking to get started, including a bundled monitor (called the “Envi”) and data cable that “will allow users to connect to their PC or Server and upload their energy data to Google PowerMeter.” The second option is a monitor bundled with a device that allows energy data to be sent to PowerMeter through a modem or broadband connection.

Today’s linking with Current Cost comes about six months after Google’s first device partner in the UK. Last fall UK energy management startup AlertMe announced that it would use PowerMeter to help customers track their energy consumption online in the iGoogle format.

Google has been working on the strategy of partnering with device makers for PowerMeter for over a year. The more gadget partners that sign up to use the tool, the quicker home owners could have access to real time energy data — without having to go through their utility or have a smart meter (a digital two-way electricity meter).

Bypassing the meter means that customers can get their energy data more quickly than through most utility-sanctioned in-home energy dashboards. Most utilities are sending energy data from the smart meter their backoffice to be displayed to the customer in a 24-hour period. By contrast, data from PowerMeter device partners can sync with your PC or mobile device via broadband in real time.

Images courtesy of Current Cost and Google PowerMeter

Related research on GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Google PowerMeter API: Innovation Deferred?

Where Not to Make Money: Energy Management Software

For a discussion about best practices for large data management in an era of machine-generated data and the real-time web, check out the “Big Data” panel at our Structure event June 23-24 in San Francisco.

By Josie Garthwaite

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  1. Mistake? I use GPM with a TED in the USA. I thought PowerMeter updated every 15 minutes not “in real time” if so I think that is a change, or the information is incorrect. Which is it?

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    1. Hi David. PowerMeter can update as fast as real time, but most of the gadget makers and utilities can only do 15 minutes (it’s more expensive to collect the data faster from a hardware perspective. So that’s typically where the bottleneck is for PowerMeter to do faster than the 15 minutes you’re getting with TED.

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      1. Hi Josie, very nice article.
        I would just like to clarify that indeed, the publicly available Google PowerMeter API has a limit of one API request every 10 minutes (from http://code.google.com/apis/powermeter/docs/getting_started.html: “Device may send one Google PowerMeter API request every 10 minutes”). This limitation prevents the data from being updated more frequently than once every 10min.
        Most devices can perform several requests per second and in fact I develop such equipments at work, connecting to our own servers multiple times per minute.

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