03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Google the New Power Utility?

Could Google do for the electrical grid what it's done for the Internet?

"PG&E's greatest fear, and they won't say it publicly, is Google," says VentureBeat's Matt Marshall in his interview of Google's Ed Lu, who oversees the search giant's PowerMeter program. PG&E, of course, is one of the nation's largest utilities, serving 15 million people in central and northern California. Marshall spoke with Lu at the GreenBeat 2009 conference.

"We don't want to be a utility," Lu responds. "We see our strength is reaching lots of customers," and helping utilities provide information to their customers about energy usage.

Taken at face value, fair enough. Or as Marshall remarks, "That's a slick message," and recites how Google said the same thing before it released Android, it's mobile phone operating system.
With it, Google has certainly rocked the cell phone market and in the process become the interface to millions of wireless customers.

So, should PG&E be afraid?

Watch the full program at