Data Access to Drive Efficiency

A culmination of over three years of advocacy, the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT) issued a final order in July 2018 that will allow retail electric customers a secure and convenient way to share their 15-minute incremental electric-usage data. The new and improved Smart Meter Texas (SMT) platform is expected to be released by January 2020. Sharing your energy data with an energy management expert will be as easy as online shopping.

The Value of Smart Meters

Texas residential customers, as well as small and medium sized commercial customers in the competitive retail electric service areas of Texas have paid roughly $2.5 billion for the deployment of over seven million advanced meters and related infrastructure. As a result, customers can get same-day electric service when moving into or out of a new home, as well as same-day switching of retail electric providers (REPs). Utilities can read the meters remotely and REPs can offer creative products like “free nights and weekends” rates, or peak-time rebates. Moreover, data from the advanced meter infrastructure can enable customers to use cloud-based digital services (e.g. smartphone applications or websites) to understand and control their energy use, respond to prices, optimize comfort, and contribute to reliable operation of the grid.

State regulations require access to SMT data be “secure and convenient.” In October 2016, SPEER published “Improving Access to Smart Meter Data in Texas,” a report that explained the barriers to third-party companies using customer’s energy data to provide energy management and efficiency services. The Commission’s July 2018 decision addressed many of these barriers, paving the way for a new era of demand-side energy management.

To provide services, these third-party companies will now only need three pieces of customer data which are found on their electric bill (i.e. Electric Service Identifier ID, meter number, and REP of Record certificate number). The service agreement that provides access to the customers data can be cancelled at any time by the customer, but will need to be renewed annually.

Many stakeholders worked collectively to develop this streamlined electronic authorization process, which the commission has determined that it provides the desired level of customer security and convenience.  A big thank you to all of the stakeholders and member companies who supported this collaborative effort.