Google has connected a home electricity-monitoring device to its Web-based PowerMeter application, part of Google's strategy to seed the market for home energy tools.
Google on Monday said that PowerMeter works with TED 5000, a small-screen monitor that provides a real-time read-out of home electricity use. TED, which stands for The Energy Detective, is one of many monitors aimed at giving consumers more detailed information so they can find ways to reduce energy use.
In combination with PowerMeter, a person can view details, such as real-time electricity use and weekly trends from a Web browser or using a smart phone running iGoogle.
Until now, Google has been working with utilities that are installing smart meters that communicate usage information in regular intervals rather than just once a month. Now, a person can use PowerMeter without having to have a smart meter installed.
Although it's straight forward, installation of the TED 5000 is not for everybody. It requires a technically savvy or an electrician to remove the cover of a home's electrical panel.
Google is looking to expand the number of devices that work with PowerMeter. It also intends to expand beyond simple energy monitoring. Planned features include ways to control home appliances to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates and demand-response programs, Dan Reicher, the director of climate and energy initiatives at Google.org,.