Sorry, United States. We may be rolling out smart meters like there's no tomorrow, but Germany's Yello Strom utility is introducing the quirkiest smart metering application yet: a program that tweets customers' energy consumption. Do-it-yourself wireless power monitors like Tweet-a-Watt do the same thing, but Yello Strom is the first utility to offer the service. Yello Strom is also poised to become the first European utility to offer access to Google PowerMeter.
Such innovation doesn't come cheap. Unlike in the United States, Germany's energy industry is deregulated. That means Yello Strom's proprietary Sparzähler meter carries a rental price tag of $5.60 to $11.24 per month, which sounds like a good deal until you consider that U.S. utilities offer smart meters to their customers for free. Yello Strom's meter can also be included in the purchase price of a house for an undisclosed amount of money.
Will tweeting capabilities become de rigeur with U.S. smart meters? Probably not. Since Germany's energy industry is deregulated, utilities have to compete for customers. In other words, German utilities have to constantly think of exciting innovations to keep people interested, while U.S. residents are stuck with whatever utility is available regardless of what they offer. It's probably for the best, anyway--would you really want constant energy consumption updates from your friends' Twitter accounts?
[Via Earth2Tech ]