In the design of policies and programs to address energy efficiency equity, municipal electrical systems have very limited and non-specific data to use in analysis and programming efforts. Often data is anonymized or provided at the zip code level, which does not provide sufficient granularity to meaningfully inform program design and implementation. Can the City of Westerville partner with an energy efficiency firm to conduct a thorough residential data analysis at the meter and neighborhood levels so that the utility can develop purposeful, equitable, and targeted residential efficiency programs?
139 E. Broadway Avenue
Westerville, OH 43081
Tara Trigg, Electric Utility Business Manager, City of Westerville - Electric Division
Chris Monacelli, Electric Utility Manager, City of Westerville - Electric Division
Josh Cox, Data Management - [email protected], 614/901-6683
John Seryak, PE, CEO of Go Sustainable Energy, LLC
5701 N. High Street, Suite 112
Worthington, OH 43085
The City of Westerville - Electric Division is a leader in utilizing technology in the rapidly evolving electric industry. With a team of talented staff that is dedicated to process improvement and equity amid programming, the Division requested DEED funding for data analysis that will assist in understanding Westerville customer’s residential energy burden; with a greater understanding of residential consumption at the meter- and customer-level combined with other publicly accessible data, the Utility can implement incentive and efficiency programs for customers with a high energy burden which helps to support the community’s goal of attainable housing. The programs will ultimately decrease residential utility bills, the City’s environmental impact, and the Utility’s peak load while improving customer equity and engagement.
Through this project, Division staff plans to work with Go Sustainable Energy (Go), an energy solution company to perform advanced data analytics on residential energy consumption based on information collected from meters, billing, county auditor sites, Census statistics, community surveys, and more. Go is an unbiased, third-party energy consultant for clients throughout the State of Ohio. Current clients include the City of Westerville, Dayton Power and Light, the City of Columbus, and many universities, zoos, warehouses, campuses, libraries, and school systems. Go provides accurate, unbiased information on energy-efficiency and energy to clients. Go helps utilities investigate ways to enhance and optimize programs, provide high-quality measurement and verification, and supports technical documentation needs.
Go engineers have provided exceptional service to the businesses of Westerville since 2012 through the City’s BusinessWISE efficiency incentive program. For more than eight years, Go’s engineers have worked closely with Westerville’s commercial and industrial customers and with City staff on the development, implementation, maintenance, and facilitation of the BusinessWISE program.
The City of Westerville - Electric Division’s advanced metering system will provide 15-minute interval readings for analysis; Go has proprietary software and data analytic expertise that will provide the City of Westerville with meter-level information. Together, this information will allow the utility to draw conclusions and make program recommendations. Staff also intends to research and report on community and household statistics such as owner- versus tenant-occupancy, multi-family dwellings, household incomes, residential energy consumption per meter and per square foot, and percentage of utility burden on household incomes to possibly create GIS mapping layers to further staff’s data analysis.
As a result of DEED's investment and the hours of analysis and deduction, the City of Westerville - Electric Division through the generosity of the DEED Board will be able to offer all Public Power Utilities (1) a recommendation for similar analysis within each community, (2) reported findings regarding residential consumption and the identification of any inequities within the community, and (3) program recommendations to meet the need of the residential electric customer.
The final product offered through this project will be a recommendation for other public power utilities who have an interest in understanding the residential energy consumer and the burden of the utility bill on that customer. This project may or may not make a recommendation for similar data analysis; regardless, staff will present the DEED community with findings, reports, graphical information, and any programs or projects proposed and/or implemented as a result of this analysis.
The final product offered through this project will be a report on findings. The report will include:
A high-level summary of analysis findings;
Residential category descriptions and findings;
Summarization of data and criteria;
Explanation of statistical significance;
Graphs, maps, and illustrations of data;
Guidance for analysis use;
Presentation of data;
Graphical representation of data;
Meeting and conversation notes between the City of Westerville and Go Sustainable Energy;
Final budget report;
Program recommendation for implementation; and,
Utility recommendations for replication.
The final report will not include the raw data provided to Go Sustainable Energy from the City of Westerville as this is customer data and millions of lines of information; similarly, the report will not include the analyzed data from Go Sustainable Energy. The report will also not include specific information related to a particular address for the privacy of the customer (i.e. income information will not be displayed per address).
The City of Westerville will utilize interval data captured through the utility’s advanced metering system. Staff also intends to utilize information from the Franklin and Delaware County Auditor websites to collect square footage, rent vs. own statistics, and property age. Go Sustainable Energy (Go) will utilize computers, staff time and expertise, and proprietary software to process the data analysis. There are no hardware expenses associated with this project; instead, data experts will be the key element to the success of this project.
See Q2 report attached.
DEED Funding: $26,850.
In 2016, DEED funded project G-392 “A Tool for Mining AMI Data to Model Customer Load for Small Public Power Utilities.” This project involved the creation of a tool to interpret AMI interval data and differs from the Westerville proposed project as Westerville intends to evaluate AMI information, county auditor data at the meter point, utility costs, income levels, Census information, and more to understand the energy burden on the residential customer. In 1983, DEED funded a project (G-25) related to understanding U.S. Census data; this project showed that data from the Census should be interpreted with caution. Now, nearly 40 years later, the City of Westerville hopes to combine Census statistics with many other data pools to draw conclusions. Otherwise, the City of Westerville searched for community engagement, customer service, and bills and rates related to residential programs on the DEED website and was unable to find additional, related programs.
It seems that most residential usage analyses are conducted by for-profit entities that are seeking to sell electricity efficiency services to potential customers. For example, Go Sustainable Energy was once contacted by a business that was seeking data analysis to better sell home insulation to customers.