Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) may have decided to put its PowerMeter home energy app on mothballs, but that does not mean it's not interested in getting a piece of the utility business.
One way Google will achieve its utility desires will be to extend Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) deployments in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan. will be to work with the local utility that own the rights of way where it is laying its fiber network.
Both the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (KCBPU) and the Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L)--both of which were already pursuing their own smart grid plans--plan to use Google's network to conduct metering and possibly distribution automation.
So why do they want to work with Google? The simple answer for both utilities is scale.
KCPBU, which chose Elster for smart meters and eMeter to conduct data center management for its 65,000 electric and 51,000 water customers, believes it could use the Google FTTP network in distribution automation project that would bring broadband to some segments of the electrical grid, for example. At the same time, KCPBU eMeter would use eMeter to manage its water and electricity customers.
The alignment of utilities and telecom service providers, arguably two disparate industry segments that haven't always met eye to eye, has been continually coming to the forefront in recent years. In addition to Google's efforts, traditional telcos like Cincinnati Bell (NYSE: CBB) have also made a move into the utility business via a partnership with renewable energy provider Viridian Energy.
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