Data Access to Drive Efficiency

Recent Action at the PUCT

New Settlement calls for Streamlined Access                                          February 1, 2018

In a culmination of over three years of advocacy, a settlement agreement filed at the PUC of Texas this week calls for a significantly streamlined customer authorization process. Yesterday, the Texas investor-owned utilities filed a comprehensive settlement agreement with the PUCT concerning Smart Meter Texas (SMT) and access to data (Docket: 47472). SMT portal provides 15-minute incremental energy use data on the following day.

There will be an API following the Green Button Connect standard; however, the authorization component (OAuth) of Green Button will not be used, as it requires the customer to set up an account – this was found to be a big hurdle for most applications. Instead, the third-party (energy management companies) will only need to provide, three pieces of a customer’s data which are found on customer bills. This “electronic LOA” provides the desired level of customer security.

The settlement will discontinue support for the Home Area Network (except for existing users). The HAN results and participation originally envisioned, has not been realized.

A Big Thanks to all of the stakeholders and member companies who supported this collaborative effort.

Background

SPEER published Improving Access to Smart Meter Data in Texas” a report that addressed the barriers to third-party companies using customer’s energy data to provide energy management and efficient practices.  The current process of providing this access is cumbersome, discouraging customer participation. Making this more convenient will encourage the development of expanded services and offerings for customers and support the various businesses that are already participating in other markets, and provide actionable information to help customers save money and energy.

 Texas residential customers, and small and medium sized commercial consumers, in the competitive retail electricity areas of Texas have paid roughly $2.5 Billion for the deployment of over 7 million advanced meters and related infrastructure.  As a result, customers can get same-day service when moving into or out of a new home and same-day switching of retail electric providers.  Utilities can read the meters remotely, and retail electric providers can offer creative products like ‘free nights or weekends’ rates, or peak-time rebates.

Data from the advanced meter infrastructure can also allow customers to use cloud-based digital services to understand and control their energy use, respond to prices, optimize comfort and cost, or even contribute to reliable operation of the grid.  This new access will enable the expansion of energy-related home and business services using the standards of today’s digital marketplace.

Complexity was the result of the state’s effort to protect consumers’ privacy, which has now been addressed.  State regulations called for access to the data to be “secure and convenient.”  Soon, sharing your energy data with an energy management expert will be as easy as buying online.