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California Utilities Launch ‘Green Button’ Program Giving Consumers Easy Access to Energy Data

California’s major public utilities are the first in the country to launch a standardized tool providing customers a simple way to access their energy usage data.

The “Green Button” program aims to fulfill one of the long-awaited promises of smart electric grids - ensuring that consumers have timely access to their own energy data in consumer-friendly and computer-friendly formats. Furthermore, consumers can make the information available to third parties for energy evaluation and analysis.

SDG&E, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Southern California Edison launched the program this week. SDG&E explains that its residential and commercial customers can click the Green Button in their online accounts and up to 13 months of past energy consumption data is instantly exported into customer- and computer-friendly standard formats. The data can be delivered in standardized file formats for easy export to other applications. The expectation is that access to this information will inspire innovative consumer applications and devices from entrepreneurs, businesses, and students.

In September 2011, United States Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra challenged utilities throughout the United States to develop a tool to provide energy consumers with one-click access to energy data in an effort to drive greater energy efficiency in homes and businesses. The Green Button is a resulting initiative developed by the Energy Services Provider Interface Task Force under the aegis of the North American Energy Standards Board. It has similarities to the "Blue Button" that was created to provide access to health care data. 

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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