Every home and business should have access to “timely, useful and actionable” energy information, said a group of close to 50 companies — including Google, General Electric, Intel, Silicon Valley venture firms, smart grid startups and research groups — in a letter addressed to President Obama on Monday. The group used the letter to ask the federal government for more clarity, leadership and incentives on how to help consumers have better access to energy information.
Google, which is leading a summit in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday focused on consumers and energy information called “Power in Numbers: Unleashing Innovation in Home Energy Use,” made the letter public on Sunday night. That event is being co-sponsored by The Climate Group and features speakers like Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, and Charlene Begley, president and CEO of GE Home & Business Solutions. (We’ll be highlighting this theme at our Green:Net conference on April 29 in San Francisco).
The letter has been signed by various groups that have been promoting the idea that consumers should have open access to home energy information, including: consumer electronics manufacturers Best Buy and Whirlpool; broadband service providers AT&T, Verizon and Comcast; energy information vendors eMeter, EnergyHub and Tendril; venture firms Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins; and research groups Environmental Defense Fund and The Climate Group.
Google, which seems to be spearheading the effort, has been particular outspoken about setting energy information free. Google has also been supporting policies in California state that would require the state’s big utilities to give near real-time pricing information to every smart meter-enabled customer by the end of next year. And it’s developed the energy information management tool PowerMeter.
The companies have a vested interest in selling gadgets and services based off of energy information to consumers and utilities, but if more aggressive policies and incentives are implemented the energy savings could be substantial. The letter says:
[I]f all U.S. households saved 15 percent on their energy use by 2020, for example, the greenhouse gas savings would be equivalent to taking 35 million cars off the road and would save consumers $46 billion on their energy bills, or $360 per customer each year.
Google’s official blog post can be found here.
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