How will Minnesotans access their own energy data?

Data can be a powerful tool for spurring energy efficiency, and Fresh Energy is committed to ensuring Minnesota provides the most useful and effective system.

The state’s Public Utilities Commission is currently discussing how Minnesotans will access their own energy data, building on a multistep process.  Last month, the Commission decided utilities shall determine their own internal aggregation levels that “adequately protected the anonymity” of the customer usage data. As mentioned in our previous blog posting, this process began in 2013 and employed a stakeholder Workgroup, of which Fresh Energy was a participant, overseen by an Administrative Law Judge. For building owners and managers, having access to your own energy usage data is essential for identifying equipment malfunctions, budgeting for capital investments and energy benchmarking with software such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

In addition to discussing aggregation levels, the Workgroup also drafted a model consent form that utilities can provide to their customers seeking their energy usage. Earlier this week, the Commission issued a notice asking the public to comment on what should be incorporated into a model consent form. This includes what type of data can be shared, controlling the data once it has been shared, utility liability for data once it has been shared, languages in which the form is available, and the need for a web-based form. Fresh Energy recommends  that for this data to be accessible for customers, an online form is needed. Also, for this information to be most useful for utility customers, the form ought to allow for data to be released to third parties and made available in a machine readable format, such at a spreadsheet.

If you would like weigh in on the content and format of a model utility data consent form, visit the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s Speak-Up Site to submit your own comments.

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