This week Google announced its first device partner for its energy management tool PowerMeter, which will enable PowerMeter to bypass the smart meter and the utility. Part of the benefit of cutting out the utility is that the device can use an Internet connection to feed energy data directly to a user’s computer in practically real time, instead of getting delayed via the commonly slow utility network. But in some rare cases utilities aren’t getting in the way and embracing the consumer home broadband connection — such is the case with Germany’s Yello Strom, which this morning announced that its customers can now use the PowerMeter iGoogle gadget online to track their energy consumption.
Yello, which started selling its chic smart meter called the Sparzähler in December 2008 — and told us they were selling between 100 and 200 meters per day — announced back in June that it would be Google’s first European utility customer. This morning Yello says that the iGoogle gadget service is ready for customers to see their energy consumption every 15 minutes from anywhere they can log onto the web.
It’s fitting that PowerMeter’s first European sighting comes from a utility that has intertwined its products with broadband. Yello developed the smart meter in its labs (rare for a utility) and connects the device to the consumer’s home broadband connection, which Yello Strom Executive Director Martin Vesper told us is the easiest, fastest, most low cost way to run energy management services. “There’s close to a revolution happening,” when it comes to bringing the Internet and energy consumption together, Vesper explained to us. Now to get the rest of the utilities thinking that way.