San Francisco: Google said Tuesday it is refining PowerMeter software that tells residents which devices in their homes are electricity hogs and which are being frugal with energy.
The announcement comes as the California Internet titan urges increased investment in a nationwide “smart grid” electricity network to better track and manage power consumption.
PowerMeter software being tested by Google workers receives information from “smart” electric meters and devices such as appliances and then sends to users’ computers detailed reports about how the power is being divvied up.
One Google engineer said he saved $3,000 last year after feedback provided by PowerMeter prompted energy-trimming changes to incandescent light bulbs, a swimming pool filter and two old refrigerators.
A Google program manager said PowerMeter tipped her off to a stuck dial on a toaster oven that could have started a fire in the kitchen of her apartment.
“Imagine how hard it would be to stick to a budget in a store with no prices,” Google engineering team member Ed Lu wrote in a posting at the company’s website.