lee krevat greenbeatAn executive from San Diego’s electric utility today shared the early results of a pilot program with Google’s PowerMeter technology.

Lee Krevat is the smart grid director at Sempra Energy, which owns San Diego Gas & Electric, and he spoke this afternoon at VentureBeat’s GreenBeat conference at Stanford University. Sempra was one of the early partners on PowerMeter, Google’s effort to provide data to consumers about how much energy they’re using, when they’re using it, and how much it costs.

Krevat said Sempra didn’t want to get bombarded with questions, so rather than making a big announcement, it sent out postcards to 100,000 customers, letting them know they can go online and see their electricity usage through PowerMeter. Around 6 percent of those customers started using the service, which Krevat characterized as a sign of “good interest.”

And there have been some success stories already. Krevat offered the example of a customer who saw that they were using much more energy at night than expected. They unplugged devices that they weren’t using, but that didn’t lead to a big reduction. The culprit, they discovered, was a computer that they left on downstairs. Once they turned their computer off, energy usage went way down.

Interestingly, when VentureBeat editor-in-chief Matt Marshall, who was interviewing Krevat, asked the conference attendees whether any of them had tried out PowerMeter, only one of them raised their hand. And remember, this is crowd that’s particularly interested in cleantech and the smart grid.

[photo by Matthew Lynley]