These Ohio customers pay for their smart meters, and they should have access to the benefits

Studies show that customers with access to energy-use data can save up to 18 percent on their energy bills every month. Based on a typical monthly bill of $120, households could save nearly $360 every year – a substantial chunk of change.

This type of energy data is gathered by advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), specifically smart meters. Yet collecting the data isn’t enough to see those savings – customers need access to the information and new products and services, like cell phone apps, to help understand it.

That’s why Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), along with our partners Ohio Environmental Council and Mission:data, recommend that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio require Duke Energy to release customers’ energy-use information, specifically through the implementation of the Green Button Connect My Data program.

Duke is currently asking Ohio for $143 million to replace its smart meters. The utility wants its Ohio customers to foot the bill for the new meters without giving them access to their meter data. Sharing the data would give customers a chance to enjoy significant potential savings from their investment in AMI. Sharing anonymized electricity data with third-parties would enable businesses to develop new products and services, too.

Benefits of data

AMI offers considerable operational benefits for utilities, like the ability to read meters remotely and quickly assess usage and pinpoint problem sites.

Additionally, smart meters open the door for benefits beyond energy savings for consumers. One study estimates between 33 and 66 percent of the potential benefits of AMI may be customer benefits. In addition to saving money, people can better diagnose when appliances aren’t running efficiently or compare the costs and benefits of installing solar panels, for example.

Green Button

Customers with access to this information typically save 6 to 18 percent on their energy bills every month.

Duke should unlock these customer benefits by implementing the Green Button Connect My Data program, part of standards developed by the U.S. Departments of Energy and Commerce to grant customers “easy and secure access to their energy-usage information.” Basically, Green Button uses a software language that would allow Duke’s smart meters to interface with customers’ home energy monitors and appliances, as well as third-party energy-savings products and services. As mentioned above, customers with access to this information typically save 6 to 18 percent on their energy bills every month – or approximately $10 to $30 per month (based on a typical monthly bill of $120). For comparison, installing Green Button Connect is a one-time cost of less than $2.00 per customer.

Customers pay 100 percent of the cost for their smart meters in their monthly utility bills, and they should have the opportunity to receive 100 percent of the available benefits. By implementing Green Button Connect My Data, Duke can make that happen – opening the door to more efficient, smarter energy use.

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