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Microsoft Joins the Home-Energy Management Game with Hohm

First it was Bing vs. Google, now it's Hohm vs. Power Meter.

Microsoft today launched Hohm, its still-in-beta (and as-yet-unavailable) home energy-management application.
The idea behind Hohm is to take advantage of growing investment in smart grid technologies to supply detailed data about the energy used by the appliances in your home (as well as the overall energy used in your home), as a way of spurring awareness and reductions in consumer energy use.
A sample report from Hohm. Click for big.
hohm report

Once users sign up, Hohm will aggregate the amount of energy used in their homes and suggest ways to reduce energy consumption. It was launched with four utility partners from around the country: Washington-based Puget Sound Energy, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Seattle City Light and Minnesota-based Xcel Energy.

Hohm follows on the heels of the release last month of Google's Power Meter, about which senior writer Marc Gunther wrote:
Imagine if you walked into a grocery store, chose the food you want (no price tags), took it home and then, at the end of the month, got the bill in the mail. "That's essentially what we are doing with electricity and natural gas right now," says Dan Reicher, who heads energy and climate policy at Google, which is aiming to change that.

Instead giving energy consumers a monthly bill that arrives after the fact and is hard for even a geek to decipher, Google wants to give them a way to track their electricity use in real time, or close to, through a free, open-protocol piece of software called Google's PowerMeter. [...]

"Just the simple act of getting people information can really change the way they use energy," Reicher says.
Both Microsoft's Hohm and the Google Power Meter hope to capitalize on the Prius dashboard effect: seeing how much energy (or fuel) they're using provides a strong incentive to reduce that use.

SMUD has already begun a low-tech version of this project: Last year, the utility began including a home electricity report with some of its customers' utility bills, comparing their energy consumption with their neighbors'.

A short video promoting Hohm is below; if you want to sign up to download the program when it becomes available, visit

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