Google PowerMeter Could Expand to Monitor Home Gas and Water Use

June 27, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Media reports reveal that Google is hoping to expand the capabilities of its PowerMeter technology to include the monitoring of water and natural gas use, in addition to the monitoring of home electricity usage.

The PowerMeter allows users to monitor home energy consumption on smartphones or PCs using data collected from smart meter sensors. Thus far Google says there are no plans to immediately move into adjacent utility spaces, however, more sophisticated gas and water meters could open up the possibility for Web-based monitoring and allow for the addition of those features to PowerMeters in the future.

Google also said that it is conducting research and development into "demand dispatch" technology, in which software and the Internet can be used to lower electricity use in the home and provide services to the grid now completed by power plants.

Specialized power generators push more electricity into the grid to keep a balance of supply and demand or to maintain a steady frequency. The idea of demand dispatch is that small reductions of electricity use across hundreds or thousands of homes can replace supplying more power into the grid.