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UK energy firm inks Google smart meter deal

UK energy firm inks Google smart meter deal

UK energy supplier first:utility has today announced a partnership with Google that will see the company integrate its smart meter service with the search giant's recently launched online PowerMeter tool.

First:utility, which operates as an independent provider of gas and electricity to business and domestic customers, is currently in the process of rolling out free smart meters to all its customers and already operates a service where users can track their energy use online with energy use data updated every half hour.

However, company chief executive Mark Daeche told BusinessGreen.com that the new partnership with Google would make it easier still for users to monitor their energy use by providing data through their iGoogle desktop display.

"By integrating the data from our smart meters with the PowerMeter application we will be able to make sure the information is right there in your face each day," he said, adding that surveys have shown that the more visible smart meter data is the more likely it is to help drive energy savings of up to 15 per cent.

Daeche said that due to privacy concerns customers would have to sign up to the new services to authorise first:utility to transfer their data to Google. But he predicted that the majority of the company's smart meter customers would be interested in the new service. "It's free of charge and we will email all customers in the middle of next month to notify them of new service," he said. "Why wouldn't you sign up?"

First:utility is the first UK firm to partner with Google's PowerMeter project after a series of US utilities and smart meter firms signed up to integrate the technology into their own smart grid plans earlier this year.

In related news, energy giant British Gas has this week inked a deal with US-based smart grid software specialist Trilliant to install its technology in support of the utility's smart meter rollout.

Trilliant said it expected to begin deployment of its communication software for managing data collected from smart meters from December, adding that the deal provided a major boost to its plans to break into the fast-expanding European smart grid market.


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