PowerMeter is "a Google gadget that can show consumers their personal electricity consumption right on a home computer," according to today's announcement on the Google Blog. "Our software relies on 'smart meters' (or other metering devices) as a data source. Over the past several months we've been looking to partner with utilities that are installing (or have already installed) this equipment in their customers' homes. We're energized by our very first Google PowerMeter partners."
So far, partners include San Diego Gas & Electric (California), TXU Energy (Texas), JEA (Florida), Reliance Energy (India), Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (Wisconsin), White River Valley Electric Cooperative (Missouri), Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited (Canada), and Glasgow EPB (Kentucky). Together, these utilities serve many millions of customers.
PowerMeter allows consumers to track their energy consumption in real time (or very nearly real time) on their personal computers. It relies on data from utilities that use smart meter technology. Collectively, "smart grid" tech makes up one of the fastest-growing sectors of green tech and is being promoted by many as a way of addressing energy independence and climate change issues.
Again, from the Google PowerMeter page, "We think Google PowerMeter offers more useful and actionable feedback than complicated monthly paper bills that provide little detail on consumption or how to save energy. But Google PowerMeter is just a start; it will take a lot of different groups working together to create what the world really needs: a path to smarter power."