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Is today’s energy bill costing me less than yesterday’s?

08 August 2011
Is today’s energy bill costing me less than yesterday’s?

By Molly Webb, Head of Smart Technologies, The Climate Group.

Why don’t we care much about our energy bills? Well, it is very hard to care about something that you don’t seem to be able to control, even if it is expensive or the prices are going up. Most of us probably have no idea whether our bill is up or down from last month, or whether we’re consuming more today than yesterday.

As of July, it seems Californians might be better equipped than anyone in the world to get this information. 

Last month, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a policy that “requires utilities to provide pricing, usage, and cost data to customers online and updated at least on a daily basis.” And hand-in-hand with this, the CPUC announced privacy and security rules preventing any third party from using  consumer data (from a smart meter) without customer consent.

Though some concerns about how far privacy rules go does remain, DRA (Division of Ratepayer Advocates) seems cautiously positive.

This could be huge for consumers and for the innovation we need in energy services. Now Californians could provide their data – with no hassle to themselves and bypassing their utility – to a company like Plot Watt  that could tell you for instance how much of your bill is due to your lighting or washing machine. Or you could simply compare easily from one day to the next if you’re geeky enough to care, and might notice strange aberrations in consumption that are easy to fix.

As more services like EVs become available, and prices for power go up, this kind of control will become more and more important.

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