New Industry Commitments to Give Over 3 Million New Households and Businesses Tools to Shrink Their Energy Bills


May 2, 2012 

New Industry Commitments to Give Over 3 Million New Households and Businesses Tools to Shrink Their Energy Bills

WASHINGTON, DC — Responding to a call by President Obama to help consumers take better control of their energy bills, six new utilities and electricity suppliers today committed to provide millions of households and businesses unprecedented access to their own energy use data with a simple click of an online “Green Button.” The new commitments will expand the provision of secure, easy-to-understand, electronic information about energy use to a total of more than 30 million U.S. households and businesses.

Green Button is an industry-led effort that enables electricity customers to download information about their household or building energy-use in a consumer- and computer-friendly format. 

“Giving residential and commercial customers secure access to their own energy data in a standard, easy-to-understand format will help them visualize their energy use and identify opportunities to save money,” said Todd Park, Assistant to the President and U.S. Chief Technology Officer. “At the same time, Green Button is spurring the development of new online tools and services that add value to this information, creating an innovative new domain for entrepreneurship and job creation.”

“Empowering Americans to make informed decisions about their energy use is good for our communities, our economy and our environment,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “These new utility commitments will give more Americans access to Green Button, helping them save money on their energy bills, and supporting the growth of clean energy jobs and industries.”

The utilities and electricity suppliers making new commitments include:

  • Chattanooga EPB, serving 170,000 customers in Tennessee and Georgia;
  • National Grid, serving 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, will start their Green Button program with 15,000 customers in Worcester, Mass.;
  • PacifiCorp, serving more than 1.7 million customers as Rocky Mountain Power in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, and as Pacific Power in Oregon, Washington and California;
  • PPL, serving 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania;
  • TXU Energy, serving approximately 1.8 million retail electric customers in Texas.

These utilities join 15 others that have already agreed to base their Green Button functions on a common technical standard developed in collaboration with a public-private partnership supported by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. Adoption of a consensus standard by utilities across the Nation facilitates the entry of creative software developers and other entrepreneurs interested in designing and marketing new products and services based on Green Button data.

Green-Button-enabled web and smartphone applications promise to help consumers choose the most economical rate plan for their use patterns; provide customized energy efficiency tips; provide easy-to-use tools to size and finance rooftop solar panels; and deliver virtual energy audit software that can cut costs for building owners and help get retrofits started sooner.  

New companies announcing today that they are developing applications or services for businesses and consumers using this industry data standard include: EnergyAI, Melon Power, Performance Systems Development, Retroficiency, Snugg Home, and Wattvision.

Building on Federal Government Efforts to Spur Innovation

As private-sector commitments continue to grow, leading Federal agencies including the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are moving forward with efforts to link energy data to an ecosystem of tools, applications, and devices to empower consumers. Among them: 

  • Apps for Energy Contest to Spur Development of New Online and Mobile Tools– The Energy Department’s Apps for Energy contest, launched on April 5th, continues to accept submissions until May 15th for energy-related online and mobile tools based on the Green Button standard, to help consumers gain new insights, take action, and save on their utility bills. Winners of the contest will be announced on May 22nd. The contest complements a recently closed $8 million grant-funding opportunity to help consumers better manage their energy consumption using new smart grid technologies, for which winners will be notified at the end of May and awards will be  made by the end of June.
  • Providing Transparency to Consumers– Since its launch on March 22nd, more than 500 utilities have populated the Energy Department’s Utility Data Access Map, a tool that enables utilities across the country to inform their customers of the opportunities to access their own energy data in secure, consumer-friendly, and computer-friendly formats.