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Utilities unveil online tool to help customers save energy

<i>This post has been corrected, as indicated below</i>

Three big California power utilities are launching a Web-based tool to help their customers save energy – and money.

Called “Green Button,” the online tool unveiled Wednesday by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric will allow consumers and businesses to see how much electricity they’re using and to download the data so that they can figure out how to use less.

Edison, SDG&E and PG&E are in the process of rolling out the energy-information program for the about 10 million customers, the companies said. The utilities are responding to a challenge issued last September by the White House to allow customers more access to their own energy data.

The utilities say they’re hoping that customers will be able to better respond to how their consumption changes over the day, week and seasons using the data along with smart meters, which transmit energy usage information in real time. The idea is to spur entrepreneurs to create programs and devices that will incorporate customers’ usage data to help them conserve both energy and cash.

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The Green Button project “is one of many initiatives designed to offer our customers choice, convenience and control,” Ted Reguly, SDG&E’s director of customer programs and assistance, said in a statement.

The three utilities are the first in the nation to adopt the technology, which uses a cloud platform developed by Tendril, a Boulder, Colo.-based company.

[For the record, 1:05 p.m. Jan. 19: An earlier version of this post said that Edison would introduce the service to customers later this year. Actually, Edison has begun offering the program to certain customers who have smart meters.]

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