New Hampshire Moves Forward on Statewide Energy Data Access Platform
New Hampshire is poised to move forward on a statewide, multi-use utility-customer energy -data platform that includes the benefits of the Green Button Connect My Data standard. Governor Christopher Sununu has signed Senate Bill (SB) 284 —a bill introduced at the request of the Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA). The OCA represents the interests of New Hampshire’s residential ratepayers.
The statewide, utility-customer energy-data platform would allow utilities, their customers, and authorized third parties to access the online platform and participate in the secure sharing of energy-usage data. The bill requires the platform to be certified by the Green Button Alliance and specifies that the platform supports the Energy Service Provider Interface of the North American Energy Standards Board and the Green Button Connect My Data data-access and -sharing initiative of the Green Button Alliance.
“Green Button is the gold standard,” explained Don Kreis, Office of the Consumer Advocate. Kreis worked with his director of finance, Jim Brennan, to draft a bill that strikes the right balance between data accessibility and data privacy.
“We built our data-platform proposal on top of the strong data-privacy protections our office previously persuaded our legislature to adopt,” Kreis explained. “Individual customers will have to give specific permission before third parties access their PII – personally identifiable information.” At the same time, the bill calls for the platform to make aggregated and anonymized data widely available.
The scalable and flexible platform will be a boon not just to innovative companies looking to develop energy-related services but also to municipalities seeking to make the benefits of retail electric choice available to their residents. A separate bill, also just signed by Sununu, allows cities and towns in New Hampshire to create “community choice aggregation” (CCA) plans—arrangements for securing lower energy prices or an energy-source mix that includes more renewables—on an opt-out basis; changing from out-in to opt-out has led CCA to explode in popularity in neighboring Massachusetts.
The New Hampshire data platform will be developed according to a collaborative process involving the state’s three investor-owned electric utilities and stakeholders with oversight by the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The PUC must open a proceeding by year’s end to begin the process of determining how the platform will be governed, designed, and operated. There is also a provision that allows the PUC to pause the project if it is too costly.
“We’re confident we can demonstrate that a statewide, utility-customer data platform will not just be cost-effective but will help secure the benefits of deregulation and grid modernization for consumers at long last,” said Kreis.