Distributed Energy Resources

Program aims to make customer data more accessible for DERs

Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) has set up a pilot program with UtilityAPI that aims to make it easier for customers to share their energy usage data with vendors of distributed energy resources (DERs).

SVCE anticipates the primary users of the data will be vendors in the solar power, energy storage, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle charging sectors who need accurate data to better serve potential customers.

Testing of the pilot program is scheduled to begin in November with the program set to launch in January.

SVCE selected the pilot program to help small and medium DER businesses in its territory have access to data that will enable them to look at a potential customer’s energy usage data in a more consistent and accurate way, SVCE spokeswoman Pamela Leonard said. “It could help transform the industry and help us meet our decarbonization goals,” she said.

SVCE’s decarbonization goal calls for the California community choice aggregator to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from 2015 baseline levels 30% by 2021, 40% by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

The UtilityAPI pilot program is being funded with $279,000 under SVCE’s Innovation Onramp program that is designed to explore solutions to key technical, market and policy barriers to meeting its decarbonization goals.

“We look at it as a local development opportunity that will be able to be copied and replicated in other places,” Leonard said.

When the pilot program is live, companies will be able to use the UtilityAPI platform to request authorization from customers to access customer utility bill and usage data. The vendors will also be able to send data back to SVCE on the same platform.

The problem being addressed is that the process for accessing energy data has historically been slow and cumbersome. Utilities collect and display customer data in a variety of formats that are not always compatible. As a result, vendors often have to spend time and money to collect and harmonize customer data, a process that is particularly burdensome for smaller vendors.

“As much as the energy sector has been transformed by data over the past decade, we believe that data remains heavily under-valued - and good data policies are important tools to better serve our customers and spur market transformation,” Girish Balachandran, CEO of SVCE, said in a statement.

By using UtilityAPI’s Data Exchange Platform, SVCE will become the first U.S. electricity provider with a Green Button Connect certified platform, the CCA and UtilityAPI said.  

The Green Button initiative is an industry-led effort to respond to the Obama administration’s call to provide electricity customers with easy access to their energy usage data in a consumer-friendly format.

“We are excited to demonstrate the value of the seamless exchange of energy data for both clean energy companies and electricity providers,” Devin Hampton, CEO of UtilityAPI, said in a statement.