Everyone's favourite advertising company, Google, has today announced the UK roll out of its "PowerMeter" home-electricity-consumption cloud service. The idea is that users of certain home 'leccy meters will for some reason read them via Google's servers, rather than using the online services that come with the meters. Google's …
"sad lack of commercial acumen"
Rather unfair. I'd never heard of AlertMe or First Utility before this article. I have now. If it were less lazy / El Reg had linked to them, I'd probably even go to their websites.
If anyone ever "pings" me for using more 'leccy than them, I shall respond: "Yes, I've upped my consumption. Up yours".
Electricity 2.0? Bah.
Let me see, AlertMe want 70 quid, plus 3 quid a month for the priviledge to send my consumption data to Google, with no way of viewing the data on an LCD locally.
Why would I ever do this, when for 40 quid (ok plus 8 quid for the USB data cable) I get a local display and a documented XML data feed plus some free apps for the history data using the Envi from CurrentCost.
At this rate, they'll be calling Bill Gates a philanthropist. Oh, hang on...
Other Suppliers stuck in 20th century....
My smart meter provider, eOn are kind enough to provide my smart meter information on a monthly basis as a usage summary. Plus, they still 'estimate' what my bill will likely be over the coming months to charge a fixed rate in advance, rather than what I've actually used. So I have to glance at the LCD displayed on a regular basis, which ends up not being that interesting after 12 months of similar graphs. Plus, there's no built-in way of exporting the data for online analysis, making it all a bit pointless. Not even a CSV export :(
I supposed I could take a screwdriver to it though! :)
Providers must hate this
but from Google's point of view, I can see why they want to get involved.
They know who you are and they know your IP address, but combining that with how much you spend on power and when.. Gives good estimate of size of your house, who's about when - and bluntly lets them advertise how much you'd save switching to another provider (after their kickback).
Yup, the currentcost meters are probably the best value for money on the market, not to mention some of the best functionallity.
They're even better if you're with Southern Electric and move onto their 'better plan' where they give you one for free.
I've home brewed a system which stuffs all of the data into round robin database and slaps it on the net. After having it up there for anyone to see, I had a fit of paranoia, when I realised that I could see when I was in the house, by the amount of power being used, it's now ssl & password protected.
I'm currently working on measuring gas use, apparantly you can get a dev board from CC for their meters.