The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Illinois have filed an “Open Data Access Framework” with state regulators that would, for the first time, give customers the right to automatically receive detailed information about their own energy usage, empowering customers control their energy usage, conserve energy, and reduce carbon pollution.
The framework is intended to provide guidance to public utility commissions throughout the country on how to set a standard for customer access to their own energy data, and create a consistent national regulatory model (much like Green Button Connect has done as a technical standard) to enable third-party energy software and hardware providers to scale to all markets.
“This new framework will make Illinois the first state that requires utilities, at a minimum, to adopt a national data access standard — like Green Button Connect — that will ensure consumers have easy and timely access to their own energy data,” said Andrew Barbeau, EDF consultant and president of the Accelerate Group.
The passage of the 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, and resulting smart meter deployments, secured many benefits for local utilities — Commonwealth Edison and Ameren — including greater control over peak energy load, grid resiliency, and cost savings resulting from the energy conservation efforts of their electricity customers. Smart meters are now well-positioned to provide customers benefits, as well, by empowering customers with easy access to their own energy data. Giving consumers access to their energy data makes way for better demand response, energy efficiency, and renewable energy programs, which is key to making energy more affordable and reliable.
The proposed framework sets a minimum state regulatory standard to ensure customers can quickly obtain smart meter data in convenient, user-friendly formats — either directly from the electric meter itself or through the Internet or mobile applications. As customers allow third parties access to energy data, the framework will enable new business models for home automation and other energy-management services. Combined with smart thermostats and other smart appliances, the data can help target and refine energy efficiency and demand response programs, which reward customers for using less energy during peak times.
The framework deems the customer the principal owner of their retail electric consumption data, and the utility a guardian of the data. It further states that customers should have access to their retail electric consumption data in intervals that are as short intervals — real-time when accessed directly from the smart meter or within an hour through the Internet.
The Illinois Commerce Commission will review the filing, but it is yet to be seen if approval will come in time for the state’s electric utilities to incorporate the framework into their smart grid deployment plans when they go through their annual review in April 2015.