Jason Price is Director of Client Development in Energy & Utilities for West Monroe. He advises utility clients in areas of grid modernization, decarbonization, clean energy, and regulatory for electric, gas, and water utilities. As a proud and devoted father of three young girls, including a newborn, he will have much to answer to if the planet his children inherit is not in a healthy state.
In the coming months and years, expect an increasing number of utility regulatory commissions to begin ruling on third-party access to utility data — several state orders are currently examining the implications of making utility data more accessible to third parties and customers. Some states are going further and broadening the data pool to include more than just customer-metered end-use data but grid hosting data as well.
Utility regulatory commissions should follow suit to encourage customer adoption, improve the marketing and sales of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and other energy solutions to help states reach their net-zero carbon goals — though national and state initiatives to democratize data have had mixed reviews, from complete abandonment to growing adoption.
We can learn from past experiences. The Green Button Initiative (GBI) was designed to empower customers in making more informed energy decisions with their own energy usage. Proponents believed that greater access to customer data would motivate better energy decisions and spur market innovation in energy efficiency, demand response, and other technologies and practices available at the time.
But GBI fell short of achieving national adoption. Regulators are viewing utility data through a modern lens and closely examining states like Texas and California on how they've addressed utility data democratization.