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JEA Teams with Google

JEA has become one of the first utilities worldwide to team up with Google in an attempt to bring customers next-day information on how much electricity their homes use.

The purpose of the new pilot program is to put energy consumption information at JEA customers' fingertips. The Google PowerMeter tool, known as a Google gadget, shows hour-by-hour home electricity consumption, the very next day on a customer’s home computer.

”Studies have shown that the more individuals understand about how their behavior affects their energy and water consumption, the more empowered they are to make changes that will not only benefit their pocketbook, but that will benefit the community and the environment as well,” said Jim Dickenson, CEO and managing director of JEA.

After testing this pilot program with its employees and a very small number of customers, JEA hopes to be able to offer this service to more customers next year, depending upon the results of the pilot.

Customers can't enroll in the Google PowerMeter Program at this time.

“Our utility partners are leading the charge to make the electricity grid smarter and we look forward to working with them and others,” said Google yesterday on their blog.

Currently, JEA offers its customers information on energy conservation through free online energy audits, energy audit DVDs and in-home audits. The utility also offers free community seminars about using electricity and water more wisely.

5 Responses »

  1. This is awesome. I wish I was able to participate in the trial.

  2. I'm hoping that they get this rolled out to the users soon, I would love to see how much energy is used when we're not at home!

  3. Google has a reputation as a adware data grabber. Several friends suggest their software contains "backdoors" that allow access to users computers. Have these issues been addressed?

  4. Holy shozbots! I'm feeling the need to get a JEA account just to play with this thing.

  5. @W. B. LaCroix: I'm a CISSP and I work as a computer security expert. Part of my day job involves finding hidden "back doors" in software... There's no such back doors that I'm aware of in any Google product.

    Don't get me wrong: Some day someone might find a hidden back door in one of Google's products but I don't think this is likely. The company would suffer much greater negative consequences to such an action than any useful feature it might add.

    Also, Google *does* make software that tracks certain things you do (with said software) but I've never seen a product from them that didn't clearly state somewhere what it records and sends to Google (usually in the legal disclaimer you agree to when you download the product).

    Finally, if you're suspicious of any Google product I recommend asking an expert or searching the web about the product in question. It is good that you're skeptical of the software that runs on your computer (very good!) but don't let it get to you too much. You're far more likely to run into suspicious and/or questionable software practices from companies like Microsoft and Sony than you are from Google.

    Both Microsoft and Sony--especially Sony--have a history of including things like back doors in their software.

    "Car analogies are like Toyota Camrys. They're everywhere but not appropriate for all purposes."