Friday, July 01, 2011

Microsoft and Google Scrap Power Monitoring Services

As reported in PC World, Microsoft have announced they are discontinuing Microsoft Hohm service, 31 May 2012. This follows the announcement of Google PowerMeter shutting down from 16 September 2011. These services provided information about the energy use in individual homes. The lack of popularity of the services is not surprising.

Power monitoring devices and smart meters are designed on the assumption that if the consumer can see the power they are using then can then change their behavior to save energy. However, detailed minute by minute information is not needed for this. It is not hard to explain to a consumer which appliances use a lot of power and which do not. You don't need to keep telling them this.

Much of the power in a home is consumed by devices over which the consumer has no control. Being told every day how your water heater or electric radiator is using a lot of power is of no use if you do not have the money or authority to change it. A better strategy is to ban the most inefficent devices and provided consumer energy ratings on the rest.

In the case of a family, I have see a father driven to distraction by looking at the power meter while their teenage children went around turning on appliances. ;-)

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