Microsoft's Sustainability blog announced Hohm's first utility partner - Seattle City Light. Customers of the utility will start to be able to use Hohm to track their energy usage and get rolling on conserving electricity. Microsoft Hohm is an easy-to-use online dashboard that shows a user their energy consumption data. It also provides customized tips and recommendations for the user on how to conserve energy. The program was in beta mode back in June, and Seattle City Light was one of nine utilities with which Microsoft partnered to test Hohm. Now, it's the first utility to allow its customers to connect to Hohm and use the information generated from their utility account.
While users could use Hohm back in the middle of the year, they had to enter their utility information manually. With Seattle City Light, their information will be automatically loaded on their profile. This, of course, makes some people uncomfortable, as information privacy becomes more of an issue. But we have to underscore a significant point - as Mike put it last week, "The privacy risks - and opportunities for abuse, both from governments and from malicious individuals - are not unique to smart grids of course. It's par for the course with highly networked technologies like the internet."
Hohm is one of the many ways energy data is becoming available to consumers, and as that information is more readily available to consumers, energy conservation increases. That is worth the effort of figuring out the bugs behind systems like Hohm, PowerMeter, and other energy conservation dashboards making their way onto the smart grid scene.