Utilities demonstrating the latest Green Button features at the Energy Datapalooza on October 1st. | Photo by Sarah Gerrity
The Green Button Initiative aims to provide utility customers with their electricity usage data in a simple and standard format to help them save energy and money, and it might be coming to a utility near you. Kicked off back in January, the Green Button has already had quite a year, but it isn’t done yet. On October 1, the Energy Data Initiative announced a further expansion of the Green Button to include 12 new or expanded commitments from utilities and also the first steps toward allowing customers to directly transfer their electricity usage data to third parties, such as app developers.
First, in terms of the ability to download Green Button data, 12 new utilities and energy providers have joined 23 others that have already agreed to adopt the Green Button machine-readable data standard. In total, these 35 companies will enable more than 36 million households and businesses to use web and smartphone apps to pick the best rate plan for them, take advantage of customized energy efficiency tips, utilize tools to size and finance rooftop solar panels, and download virtual energy audit software that can cut costs for building owners and help get retrofits started sooner. That’s a growth of nearly 5 million new U.S. households and businesses!
The utilities and electricity suppliers making new or expanded commitments are:
- Bangor Hydro Electric Company, serving 117,000 customers in Maine.
- Central Maine Power, serving 620,000 customers in Maine.
- Consolidated Edison, serving over 3.3 million electric customers in New York (Green Button will initially be available toapproximately 2,500 large building owners).
- Efficiency Vermont, serving 330,000 customers in Vermont.
- JEA, serving 430,000 customers in Florida.
- Northeast Utilities, serving over 3 million electric and natural gas customers throughout New England under the following regulated utilities: Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P), Yankee Gas, Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECo), NSTAR Electric, NSTAR Gas, and Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH).
- Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation (Georgia) and Kootenai Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Idaho), serving 3,000 residential customers.
- The United Illuminating Company, serving 324,000 customers in Connecticut.
In addition to the increased level of access to Green Button, there are also exciting recent announcements on its increased functionality. Specifically, utilities in California and the Mid-Atlantic have taken a new step to make it easier for their customers to securely transfer their own energy usage data to authorized third parties, based on affirmative (opt-in) customer consent and control. In total, these commitments will provide more than 11 million customers with an easy and secure way to automatically and routinely participate in energy saving opportunities. Some of the companies that have committed to utilize the Green Button Connect My Data capabilities are Aclara, OPower, and Oracle.
All together, these new commitments and capabilities are the result of the tremendous efforts from Federal and State governments as well as the private sector to empower innovators with open data.