Meeting #27: Smart Meters and Distributed Resource Data Issues
Thursday, February 21, 2013
10:00am – 3:15pm ET
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Baltimore, MD
This meeting explored several inter-related issues that stem from the deployment of smart meters and the data they are capable of providing. New opportunities and new challenges are arising with respect to smart meter data, particularly for distributed resources: customer-owned generation, demand response, and energy efficiency. Are billing systems, tariffs and public policies keeping pace with smart meter technology? Should third parties have access to utility customer data, in order to effectively target and market their services? What must be done to protect consumers from misuse of this data, or unwanted solicitations, while still allowing for the development of new service offerings? All of these questions, and more, were explored.
Smart Meter Capabilities and Implications for Net Metering
Kent Hedrick, Landis+Gyr
Katie Bolcar Rever, Solar Energy Industries Association
Rob Stewart, PHI
This session began with a presentation on the capabilities of current smart meters to produce data that are useful for maximizing the deployment and value of distributed generation, demand response, and energy efficiency. This led to more focused discussion in this panel on how the data are used or could be used for net metering of distributed generation. (Other uses were discussed in the following panel.) Panelists discussed the following questions:
- Can smart meters produce all the data of interest to third party EE and DR providers (and program evaluators), self-generating customers, utilities and system operators? What capabilities are not yet being realized?
- What data and billing issues exist with respect to net metering tariffs, from the perspective of a solar PV generator and the perspective of a distribution utility or competitive retail electric supplier?
- To maximize the value of distributed generation resources, is there a need for improvements to smart meter hardware or software, utility tariffs or billing systems, or public policies?
Data Needs, Access to Data and Consumer Protections
Laurie Duhan, BGE
Sam Wolfe, Viridity
Justin Segall, Simple Energy
Paula Carmody, Maryland Office of People’s Counsel
Smart meters can also produce a treasure trove of customer data that potentially can be used by third parties like competitive retail electric suppliers, curtailment service providers, and energy service companies – not just for managing and billing their existing customers, but also for marketing to potential new customers. Customers may benefit in multiple ways from data-driven, targeted services but this is only possible if third parties have access to customer data, and this of course raises concerns about consumer protection. The panelists discussed the following questions:
- What kinds of data do companies currently use for managing and billing their existing customers?
- What kinds of data do companies currently use for marketing to potential new customers?
- What else might companies do if they had access to data they currently cannot access?
- What concerns do customers and consumer advocates have about sharing of customer data, and how might those concerns be addressed to the benefit of all parties?
The federal government has recruited utilities from around the country to participate in a voluntary initiative called Green Button. The goal of this initiative is to facilitate electronic sharing of utility customer data through standard data formats and protocols. In this session, we heard about the progress of this initiative and stories from the front line of implementation. The panelists addressed the following questions:
- What is the status of the initiative?
- What challenges or problems have utilities experienced and what benefits or insights have they gained from implementing the Green Button?
- How much interest have utility customers shown, what concerns or problems have arisen, and how have these concerns and problems been addressed (or how should they be addressed)?