Online Energy Department Tool Helps Consumers Cut Bills
May 2, 2012
The Energy Department announced on April 30 that it has launched the Utility Data Access Map tool, an interactive Web platform that enables electric utilities across the country to show customers, in a simple way, the data they can access on their electricity use. DOE has already received responses from more than 500 participating utilities.
Many consumers do not have enough data or they are not aware of the data they can access to make informed decisions about energy efficiency measures that could save them money. Among those who do have access to their data, some lack the ability to share it with service providers who might help them identify energy savings opportunities and verify savings once improvements have been made.
The Utility Data Access Map tool provides "crowd-sourced" maps in user-friendly formats based on information gathered from electricity providers nationwide. It highlights local access to electricity data and allows consumers to compare their electricity data access to others in their state and across the country. The data access maps display different features of consumer electricity data, including the time period and timeliness of data—informing consumers, for example, whether their utility supplies same-day electricity use information—and the extent to which the data can be shared. By helping consumers better understand their energy use and providing new ways to compare, local utilities are adopting "smart grid" technologies. See the DOE Progress Alert, the Utility Data Access Map, and the DOE OpenEI website, a collaborative system managed by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.