Indian power company Reliance Energy has tied up with Google to offer consumers the ability to track their power consumption on their computers. According to Google.org, the Google PowerMeter receives information from utility smart meters and energy management devices. What’s interesting here is that the electricity consumption is tracked on the users personal iGoogle homepage, and uses Google Aps. We believe this helps the company promote the usage of Google Aps and iGoogle. (Hat Tip: Sumant Srivathsan)
The service will be available to Reliance Energy consumers in Mumbai, Delhi and Orissa, covering around 6.8 million customers; it’s highly unlikely, though, that all 6.8 million customers will have Internet connectivity or the propensity to sign up for this. Remember that India has only 6.22 million broadband connections.
Google PowerMeter is an opt-in service and users must sign up to participate. No personally identifying information will be shared between Google and the user’s utility. All energy data received by Google PowerMeter will be stored securely, and users will be able to delete their energy data or ask their utility to stop sending data to Google PowerMeter at any time.
Google.org’s India Initiatives: Primarily Focused On Government Policy
Googles Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) initiative Google.org appears to have been rather active in India, and interestingly enough, focused on primarily on collecting and disseminating related to Government Policy and Education. All in all, the company has invested $9.652 million in projects that have an India focus.
Also keep in mind that Google has lobbied hard in the country around Indias new IT Act; Google India MD Shailesh Rao has been appointed the Chairman of the Internet and Mobile Association of India this year.
Their site lists the following projects that they have backed:
— Pratham: $2 million to create an independent institute for assessment of developments in the education sector, and conduct a Nationwide Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)
— Educational Initiatives India: Rs. 61.9 million (approximately $1.6 million) contract to conduct a benchmark study to gauge levels of student learning in classes 4, 6 and 8 and to identify learning gaps in India.
— Institute for Finance Management & Research (IFMR): $1.015 million multi-year grant to create district level development indices in India and to support mapping of information including research, government, non-government, and NGO database information
— PRS Legislative Research: $880,000 multi-year grant to increase citizen engagement, track the performance of members of parliament, and procure photocopies of state laws throughout India
— Center for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS): $765,000 multi-year grant to create a Budget Information Service for local governments in India, with the goal of facilitating better district and municipal-level planning
— Centre for Policy Research (CPR): $600,000 multi-year grant to increase the debate and discourse on issues of urban local governance and urban service delivery; $250,000 multi-year grant to create a centre for accountability that will identify gaps, assess the effectiveness and disseminate this information to policymakers and civil society in India.
— Shekhar Singh: $250,000 contract to conduct a study of the use and implementation of the Right To Information (RTI) Act across various stakeholders in India (including public authorities, information commissions, media, judiciary, NGOs, and corporate sector).
— International Budget Project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (IBP): $197,000 multi-year grant to support the building of a larger constituency for budget tracking work in India.
— Seva Foundation: $2 million to support programs to prevent blindness and restore eyesight in India, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Tanzania and Guatemala
— PlanetRead: $345,000 to support Same Language Subtitling (SLS) programs in India.