May 30, 2009 (San Diego) San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) has announced a partnership with Google that, by the end of this year, will enable SDG&E customers to obtain their daily energy usage information via the popular Web site with Google’s new Google PowerMeter gadget (http://www.google.org/powermeter/ ). The data will be made available through SDG&E’s digital smart meters, which are being installed for all customers over the next two years.
“This is about choice, control and convenience for our customers,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SDG&E. “They have told us they prefer a variety of ways to receive this information to make it as easy as possible. Google is the first company to team with us in this effort, and we expect others will follow suit.”
SDG&E’s research revealed that, when people know how much energy they are using, they cut back by at least 5 percent to 10 percent. It also revealed that 29 percent of customers preferred access to their energy usage information on their own homepage through a third-party provider, such as Google.
SDG&E has created a webpage, http://www.sdge.com/myaccount/energynetwork/, which will act as a platform to provide smart meter customers with a list of choices of where and how they receive their energy usage information. The page will be located where smart meter customers view their online bill information and be available in late 2009. Only customers with smart meters will be able to view their usage information online.
Smart meters allow two-way communication between the utility and a customer’s meter and provide customers with detailed energy use data that can help them reduce their energy use and costs. This information also can help residential customers earn a rebate for reducing energy use on peak usage days. In addition, smart meters improve detection of power outages, aid in outage restoration and can even provide improved customer services resulting from more detailed and timely information on individual energy use patterns.
In March, SDG&E began installing the first 200,000 digital meters and, by the end of 2011, all 1.4 million customers will have the devices. Once the new meter is installed, SDG&E spends at least three months testing the customer’s device, after which the online energy usage data will be available.
Google PowerMeter will display customers’ daily electricity usage on their personalized iGoogle homepage, along side other personalized Google gadgets, such as e-mail, stock quotes, weather and breaking news.
Itron, SDG&E’s smart meter vendor, has helped integrate customer data with Google PowerMeter. Only energy usage data is provided to Google for display on the Google PowerMeter – no personal customer information is provided to Google.
When customers with smart meters choose to sign up for Google PowerMeter, they can view charts that display their prior-day’s energy usage. The information is detailed by hour, so customers can see exactly when they have used the most energy. SDG&E will provide energy conservation tips via the Google PowerMeter gadget, as well as a link back to SDG&E’s Web site for more energy-efficiency information.