Myth: consumers don’t care about energy usage data online

By admin on April 2, 2012

According to a new report from PG&E nearly 50% of their smart meter customers, or approximately 2.2 million people, have created an online account to access their energy usage data – and logged in over 15 million times last year. In addition, the number of PG&E customer account logins doubled from 2008, when the smart meter rollout had just begun.

Along with the new smart meters, another explanation for this increase in customer logins is almost certainly the additional functionality that PG&E has added to their website, including the ability to download Green Button data. According to a recent quote from a PG&E representative, over 200,000 people have already clicked to download their Green Button data from the website.

“We don’t know what they did with that data and we don’t care,” she said, explaining that they can then analyze it or upload it to any third party application they choose. “It’s their data.” She then proceeded to describe how Green Button data will make it easier for customers to determine how to reduce their own energy consumption.

As Chris King of eMeter, a Siemens Business, points out, by itself Green Button data is not incredibly useful. However, when this data is translated for consumers by an application of their choice, it can become very valuable. “Mobile app developers will step forward and provide interesting and even exciting uses for this data,” explains King. “With such apps on their smartphones, consumers could:

  • Get an immediate comparison of how optional time-of-use rate plans (now offered by many utilities) will affect their bills.
  • See a breakdown of their energy usage by appliance.
  • Calculate their potential savings and payback for installing insulation.
  • Join an energy game to rack up savings points (Simple Energy has already developed a prototype.)
  • Figure the costs and return on investment for installing photovoltaic panels.


“With the apps market being so creative, I’m sure there will be many, many more,” concludes King.

Learn more about using Green Button data to engage customers in the new joint white paper by King and Justin Segall of Simple Energy.


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