Brief

Illinois regulators approve ComEd's smart meter data sharing program

Dive Brief:

  • The Illinois Commerce Commission approved a new data sharing program to be offered by Commonwealth Edison, allowing companies and researchers to access anonymous usage information from smart meters across the utility service territory.
  • By providing anonymous data usage, ComEd and Illinois seek to expand the products and services offered to customers using the grid.
  • ComEd has installed 3 million smart meters in northern Illinois and expects to complete the installation of 4 million smart meters in 2018.

Dive Insight:

Allowing access to customer data, while still allaying privacy concerns, is a major challenge for utilities shifting into new business models. ComEd will now offer one of the first data sharing programs, allowing open access to unidentified interval energy usage data for all zip codes where the utility has deployed smart meters.

“One of the great benefits of smart meter technology is the availability of data that will enable a growing sector of energy tech companies to design new products and pricing programs that will help customers save money and meet the growing interest for more choice and personalized services,”  Val Jensen, ComEd senior vice president of customer operations, said in a statement.

The new data program builds upon the Green Button Initiative, ComEd explained—a joint effort among utilities and technology companies to allow customers to download their energy usage data and use it to take advantage of online energy management services. Green Button also gives customers the option of voluntarily sharing their specific data usage with third party providers.

“This is an industry-leading offering that was developed with input from regulators, stakeholders, educators and entrepreneurs, so we’re confident it will serve the interests of the marketplace while reinforcing our commitment to protecting customer information," Jensen said.

The state has been looking at data sharing for years. The Citizens Utility Board and the Environmental Defense Fund filed an Open Data Access Framework with regulators in 2014 to allow customers to easily move data to third parties.

In New York, as part of the Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding, regulators are working to make electricity data public in an effort that could become a model for other states.

“The sharing of distribution-level data by New York utilities can fundamentally change the way utilities and third-parties operate not just in New York, but throughout the whole country,” Jon Wellinghoff, former chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, now in charge of policy at SolarCity, told Utility Dive.

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