Microsoft will launch Hohm a new internet software package for customers to watch their energy usage and help them save in their energy bills.

Microsoft's Hohm is expected to launch by next week and is target=_blank>available to anyone for free . It will let customers estimate the energy efficiency of their home appliances, such as heaters, air conditioners and lighting, Microsoft said.

It will also calculate carbon emissions associated with the customer's electricity, natural gas, fuel oil or liquid propane use, according to Troy Batterberry, product unit manager for energy management and home automation at Microsoft, the Dow Jones news agency reports today.

We believe technology will play a pivotal role in tackling the global energy issues we currently face, Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, said in a statement, according to the agency.

The software makes its estimates with weather and usage data obtained from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Other IT industry companies are developing products to monitor energy consumption. Google Inc. also launched a similar Internet application, called PowerMeter, about a month ago and Verizon and Cisco are moving into these products.

The companies are partnering with utilities to test the software. Installation of the software in utilities is in preliminary stages, but it is expected to increase as the U.S. government under President Barack Obama's administration requires utilities to conserve energy.