Energy Usage Data Access: A Getting-Started Guide for Regulators

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Accessible energy usage data can unlock energy savings in several ways. Easily accessible data can help residents and businesses achieve savings by better managing energy use in homes, large buildings, and entire communities. Local governments, meanwhile, can use aggregated data for planning purposes (see our Local Policy Toolkit for details). Increasingly, energy service providers are also finding ways to use energy usage data to provide innovative programs and services for residents and businesses.

Although utilities have access to vast amounts of data on their customers’ energy use, customers’ ability to use those data is still relatively limited. To facilitate better data transparency, states can develop guidelines or regulations that require utilities to send the data directly to customers or to third parties (with customer permission). State regulators can play an important role in streamlining the existing patchwork of city and utility approaches to managing customer data.

In this toolkit, we focus on opportunities for state utility regulators to enable, guide, or require utilities and localities to collect, share, and use customer energy data. We explore the benefits of statewide data access guidelines, discuss the processes by which state regulators can enact them, and provide relevant resources and state examples throughout.

State regulators can play a critical role in unleashing building energy data

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The 21st century has ushered in a new era of measuring personal progress. With wearable technologies, we can now collect more personal data than we ever thought possible, from heart rate and step count to standing time and sleep quality. The ability to measure what we want to manage in real time has brought new meaning to the phrase “big data.” Improved tools for data collection and analysis have not been limited to health metrics. Technologies for collecting energy data in our homes and buildings have improved, producing more and better data than ever before. When companies and researchers have easy access to such data, they can examine energy consumption trends and opportunities to reduce energy waste. These insights lead to more energy-efficient technologies and behaviors and keep money in consumers’ pockets. To reap these savings, state regulators have an important role to play in expanding and guiding energy data access.

Through a new state policy toolkit piece and a convening of state regulators with the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), ACEEE is digging deeper into the connection between building energy data access and greater energy efficiency.

Natural Gas Plant Makes A Play For Coal’s Market, Using ‘Clean’ Technology

Read the full story at NPR.

President Trump wants America to use more “clean coal” to make electricity. He hasn’t elaborated on what kind of coal that might be.

But there is, in fact, a way to capture and contain or reuse one of coal’s worst pollutants — carbon dioxide, which warms the atmosphere. Though “carbon capture” has been slow to catch on among those who run coal-fired power plants (despite billions spent on research), entrepreneurs are now starting to adapt the technology for natural gas — coal’s biggest competitor.

Meet the $21 Million Company That Thinks a New iPhone Is a Total Waste of Money

Read the full story in Inc.

The guys behind iFixit want to show you how to fix everything from your iPhone to your toaster–for free. By doing so, they’ve built a huge business. Even though Apple totally hates them.

In a Twist, Kentucky’s Coal Museum Will Now Be Powered By Solar

Read the full story at CityLab.

In Kentucky, where voters are still hanging on to President Donald Trump’s promise to bring back mining jobs, the museum that celebrates the founding of the coal industry is making the switch to clean, renewable power. The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is currently installing 80 rooftop solar panels to cut down on energy costs amid budget cuts to the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, which owns the museum.