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.