Letter to the President Regarding Consumer Access to Energy-Use Information

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A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
April 5, 2010

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to ask that your Administration adopt the goal of giving every household and business access to timely, useful and actionable information on their energy use. By giving people the ability to monitor and manage their energy consumption, for instance, via their computers, phones or other devices, we can unleash the forces of innovation in homes and businesses. At the same time, we can harness the power of millions of people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—and save consumers billions of dollars.

Studies and experience show that when people have access to direct feedback on their electricity use, they can achieve significant savings through simple behavioral changes. Investments in home energy efficiency, along with automating appliances and other devices, can lead to even greater savings. These savings could be substantial when added up: if all U.S. households saved 15% on their energy use by 2020, for example, the greenhouse gas savings would be equivalent to taking 35 million cars off the road and would save consumers $46 billion on their energy bills, or $360 per customer each year.

Mr. President, we think consumers should have access to information such as:

  • The ability to see their power use in a manner that will enable them to discover the sources and causes of their consumption;
  • Pricing and pricing plans; and
  • Available information about generation sources of electricity.

Technologies exist today that can be deployed to achieve this goal. To ensure success, we need clear rules on consumer access to information; incentives to promote the deployment of technologies, including cost recovery; programs that educate and engage both providers and energy users; and encouragement of diverse technologies. Robust privacy and security protection for consumers and their information is essential. Along with the private sector and State and local governments, the Federal government can be a leader.

Mr. President, to this end, we request that you consider the following:

  • Initiate a White House led effort to work in partnership with Federal agencies, States, industry and other stakeholders to determine the best strategies, programs and policies needed to meet the goal of providing consumers access to their energy information, including principles to protect consumer privacy and control of their energy data.
  • Direct the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency and ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to add the availability of timely, useful and actionable energy information to consumers as a criterion for consideration in rulemakings, grants, and other programs related to end use electricity distribution and energy efficiency. This will ensure that consumer energy information is integrated into programs as diverse as home weatherization, energy efficiency grants, appliance standards, home and commercial building programs, federal energy management, research and development funding, and regulation of energy suppliers.
  • Encourage the purchase and installation of technologies, devices and methods of delivery that will help ensure timely, secure, and clear information on energy consumption is available to consumers. To that end, we request that you consider access to this information as part of any program aimed at improving home and building energy performance.
  • Convene a White House summit to address how to empower consumers with better information and tools for managing their energy use. We would welcome the opportunity to work with the White House to host a consumer energy technology showcase that will highlight energy information and control solutions for consumers.

Your Administration recently recognized the value of providing consumers with access to energy information through the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan. The Office of Science and Technology Policy, along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, recently facilitated a discussion on the consumer interface with the smart grid and how to develop the standards necessary to make it work seamlessly. The Department of Energy is leading programs to improve energy efficiency in homes and buildings and accelerate the deployment of the smart grid. We strongly support these efforts and hope that you will carry them further as outlined above.

We stand ready to assist you in your efforts to empower energy consumers, rebuild the economy, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Respectfully,

Aclara         General Electric
Alliance to Save Energy Google Inc.
American Council for an Energy-Efficient
Economy (ACEEE)
 Green Electronics Council
APC by Schneider Electric GridPoint, Inc.
AT&T Hara
Best Buy Hewlett-Packard
C3 Honeywell
Center for American Progress iControl Networks, Inc.
The Climate Group The Information Technology Industry
Council (ITI)
Comcast Intel
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Itron
Control4 Johnson Controls, Inc.
Demand Response and Smart Grid Khosla Ventures
Coalition (DRSG) Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Digital Energy Solutions Campaign (DESC) Natural Resources Defense Council
Dow Nokia
Efficiency First Opto 22
eMeter Pew Center on Global Climate Change
Energy Future Coalition Telecommunications Industry Association
(TIA)
EnergyHub Tendril
EnerNOC U.S. Green Building Council
Environmental Defense Fund Vantage Point Venture Partners
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) Verizon
Foundation Capital Whirlpool