Google PowerMeter heads to the UK

Google PowerMeter

Google is bringing its PowerMeter system to the UK for the first time.

The smart meter monitoring software lets users keep an eye on their energy use through iGoogle on their computer or mobile phone, which should help reduce their consumption - saving both money and the planet. The UK government wants every home to have a smart meter by 2020.

Google PowerMeter will be available in two ways, either by buying a smart meter or by users signing up with one utility firm.

The first way is using a self-install device called AlertMe. The 69 device plugs into an existing energy meter and connects over a wireless network to a user's computer or handset, for a 2.99 monthly fee.

Pilgrim Beart, chief executive of AlertMe, said in a statement: "Our partnership with Google PowerMeter puts your home energy consumption right in front of you every time you go online."

If that doesn't appeal, Google PowerMeter will also be available through energy firm first:utility, which has started to offer free smart meters to its users.

Mark Daeche, first:utility's chief executive, said in a statement: "At the end of the day, if you can't measure and view your energy use, it's very difficult to make savings and this iGoogle gadget puts the information right in front of the customer on their desktop."

The downside is that those smart meters have only been rolled out to the Midlands so far, rather limiting Google PowerMeter's first step into the UK utility market.

Ed Lu, Google PowerMeter's lead engineer, said: "We need the help of innovative utility companies like first:utility to get Google PowerMeter into the hands of consumers, and we are delighted about this very first UK utility partnership."

For those 30,000 first:utility customers in the Midlands, Google PowerMeter will be available for free at the beginning of November.

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