Google, venture capitalists ask Obama let consumers track energy use

Nearly 50 companies and organizations signed a letter asking President Barack Obama to adopt a goal of letting every household and business access detailed information about their energy use.

"By giving people the ability to monitor and manage their energy consumption, for instance, via their computers, phones or other devices, we can unleash the forces of innovation in homes and businesses," said the letter signed by Google, Comcast, Intel, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures and AT&T, to name a few.

"At the same time, we can harness the power of millions of people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- and save consumers billions of dollars," says the letter, which was sent to the White House today.

The hope is that having access to electricity use will drive consumers to make concerted efforts to curb it.

The companies want the Obama administration to give consumers access to electricity pricing and pricing plans and information about available sources of electricity. They are requesting the White House to led an effort with federal agencies, states and industry stakeholders to implement the goals while protecting consumer privacy.

They also want Obama to convene a White House summit to address how to give consumers more tools for managing their energy use.

"Your Administration recently recognized the value of providing consumers with access to energy information through the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy, along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, recently facilitated a discussion on the consumer interface with the smart grid and how to develop the standards necessary to make it work seamlessly.

The Department of Energy is leading programs to improve energy efficiency in homes and buildings and accelerate the deployment of the smart grid. We strongly support these efforts and hope that you will carry them further as outlined above."

The Green Electronics Council, General Electric, eMeter and Energy Future Coalition also signed the letter.

Google is hosting an event at its DC headquarters tomorrow on this topic, with Carol Browner, the Obama administration's climate czar.