Group urges President Obama to speed adoption of smart meters
A coalition of tech companies, trade associations and environmental organizations are asking the Obama administration to make access to energy information a national priority. Democratizing access to energy, the group argues, would not only empower energy consumers and save energy, but it would also rebuild the economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In a letter to President Obama on April 5, 2010, 45 companies including Google, Hewlett-Packard, GE and Comcast called on the Federal Government to "adopt the goal of giving every household and business access to timely, useful and actionable information on their energy use."
Other dimensions of energy information the letter called for were pricing and pricing plans; and information about the sources of electricity (i.e what percentage is from coal, wind, nuclear, etc.).
Also signing onto the letter were a handful of trade and advocacy organizations including the U.S. Green Building Council, Environmental Defense Fund and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
When people 'see' electricity use in real time, they use less
The group said that customers need "the ability to see their power use in a manner that will enable them to discover the sources and causes of their consumption."
By giving people the ability to monitor and manage their energy consumption, smart meters, like Google's PowerMeter, can cut electricity use 5% to 15% with little or no effort on behalf of the consumer/end user.
"If all U.S. households saved 15% on their energy use by 2020," the letter reads, "the greenhouse gas savings would be equivalent to taking 35 million cars off the road and would save consumers $46 billion on their energy bills, or $360 per customer each year."
In terms of specific actionable requests, the group suggested the President do the following:
- Initiate a White House led effort to work in partnership with Federal agencies, States, industry and other stakeholders to determine the best strategies, programs and policies;
- Direct the Dept. of Energy and the EPA and ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to add the availability of timely, useful and actionable energy information to consumers as a criterion for consideration in rulemakings, grants, and other programs related to end use electricity distribution and energy efficiency;
- Encourage the purchase and installation of technologies, devices and methods of delivery that will help ensure timely, secure, and clear information on energy consumption is available to consumers; and
- Convene a White House summit to address how to empower consumers with better information and tools for managing their energy use.
Monday's letter is part of a larger public policy effort from Google, which co-hosted an event with the Climate Group in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to brainstorm ideas about how private and public entities might bring demand-side response and smart-metering technologies to market -- and how to do so quickly.
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