Energy Department Launches Online Tool to Help Consumers Save Money on Energy Bills
April 30, 2012
As part of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy to help American families and businesses reduce their energy costs, the Energy Department 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. Currently, DOE has received responses from more than 500 participating utilities.
Many consumers don't have enough data or are not aware of the data they can access to make informed decisions about energy efficiency measures they could take to save 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 which local utilities are adopting "smart grid" technologies, this effort underscores the Administration's commitment to increasing home energy efficiency and helping families and businesses save money on their energy bills.
The Utility Data Access Map can be found on the Energy Department's OpenEI website, an open, collaborative system managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that enables widespread sharing of energy information, including data, tools, models, and other digital resources.
The Energy Department is currently soliciting responses from local utilities across the nation to provide data for the Utility Data Access Map tool. Local utilities are encouraged to respond to the survey by May 11, 2012, and may continue to update their responses through September.
The Utility Data Access Map is part of a broader collaboration between DOE and electric utilities to provide greater consumer access to energy use data. This effort includes the recent launch of the industry-led Green Button initiative, designed to provide households secure access to their energy data with a simple click of an online "Green Button." DOE's OpenEI website complements the data access maps by providing links to the Green Button website and consumer tips for visitors to learn how they can maximize energy savings based on the information access currently offered by their electricity company. Visitors are invited to offer general feedback about issues related to their energy data access and energy efficiency.
The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.