PG&E has selected two software companies that will help the utility show you how much power you're wasting.
The two companies -- which were not named -- will essentially take data from, respectively, commercial and residential buildings, mine and analyze it, and then present the data to consumers, said Saul Zambrano, who runs demand-side management programs at the utility, during a talk at GreenBeat 2010 and a subsequent interview near the snack table.
PG&E won't put home monitors on the walls of your home or commercial establishments just yet. Instead, consumers will get the data via their PCs.
The move helps pave the way for a plan already approved by the California Public Utilities Commission to give consumers (and businesses) better access to their utility data. Under the policy, utilities must give access to energy consumption data to individual consumers and their appointed third-party providers by the end of 2010 and then provide the data in a somewhat real-time manner by the end of 2011.
"This commission has a policy of ensuring that customers and their authorized third parties have access to customer information: usage, price, bills, etc.," said Dian Grueneich, a CPUC commissioner, in an interview in April. "We are committed to implementing regulations to make that happen. You do have the right to have access to that information."
With PG&E's system, consumers potentially won't have to independently adopt Google's PowerMeter, Microsoft's Hohm (sic) or some other third party system. They will just need to log onto their PG&E account via a computer.
Who has PG&E selected? A number of companies -- OPower (best bet), Tendril, EnerNoc, Silver Spring, Google, etc. -- have come up with systems that compare your energy consumption to a hypothetical average. Many also specialize in trying to pinpoint particular appliances that might be driving up your bills. OPower often adds notes in your utility bills. Grueneich mentioned in the spring that the CPUC also now lets utilities adopt "behavioral control programs" like those crafted by OPower to meet their energy efficiency goals. As such, working with OPower potentially gives PG&E a twofer.