John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Did You Forget to Pay the Google Bill? We Got Another Disconnection Notice.

ec_googleGoogle has a long and storied history of insisting it has no plans whatsoever to do something that it ultimately ends up doing. So the company’s claims this week that it doesn’t plan to enter the speculative energy trading business even though it has established a new Google Energy LLC subsidiary that would allow it to do just that, are certainly an eyebrow raiser.

You see, Google (GOOG), through Google Energy LLC, applied last month to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval to buy and sell power much as utilities do.

“In addition to engaging in sales of electricity that are unregulated by the commission, applicant proposes to act as a power marketer, purchasing electricity and reselling it to wholesale customers,” Google’s Google Energy LLC subsidiary said in its application.

But according to company spokesperson Niki Fenwick, that’s not the company’s real intent. What Google hopes to do through Google Energy is gain greater access to renewable energy sources to power its increasingly vast operations.

“Google is interested in procuring more renewable energy as part of our carbon neutrality commitment, and the ability to buy and sell energy on the wholesale market could give us more flexibility in doing so,” Fenwick told me.

“We made this filing so we can have more flexibility in procuring power for Google’s own operations, including our data centers,” She added. The FERC authority would improve our ability to hedge our purchases of energy and incorporate renewables into our energy portfolio.”

Really? Even though FERC approval would essentially allow the search giant to become a wholesaler of electricity to other big buyers?


And this initiative is not in any way related to Google PowerMeter, a Web-based service the company rolled out last year that provides consumers with a way to track energy use?

“This is not connected with the Google PowerMeter project,” Fenwick insisted. “And it does not signal our intent to operate as a retail provider of electricity.”

So we’ll have to take the company at its word then and assume, for the moment anyway, that “this does not signal our intent to operate as a retail provider of electricity” is not simply another variation on “we’re not doing a mobile phone,” “we don’t think it’s a competitor to Microsoft Office,” “we do not intend to offer a person-to-person, stored-value payments system” and, of course, “we have no plans for an IPO.”

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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo