Tech Corner | 2016-06

Tech Articles & Briefs,
With Smart Meters or Without, Green Button Provides the Data!
A common misunderstanding in the industry is that smart meters are required for utilities to leverage the Green Button standard. The flexible Green Button standard is designed to enable utilities to provide usage data regardless of their currently deployed metering system. Smart meters can simplify the energy usage retrieval process, however, Green Button enables utilities to report energy-usage information from whatever means it is collected and allows utilities to report energy-usage information in whatever interval the utility chooses. Although the Green Button standard mandates the presence of interval data it does not mandate the interval frequency.
The Green Button Standard Offers More Features & Functionality
The Green Button standard enables utility customers to easily access and share their electricity, natural gas, and water-usage information in a consistent format; while ensuring customer privacy and transmission security of energy information. Comma Separated Values (CSV) and Electronic Data Exchange (EDI) files fail to provide consistent formats, do not ensure privacy of customer information, are not required to ensure transmission security, and do not support complex data structures.  The Green Button standard utilizes a combination of Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Atom Syndication Format, which enables it to support complex data structures that allow for richer expression of data.
Powerful Capabilities
Additionally, the Green Button standard offers powerful lesser-known capabilities that enable utilities to meet regulatory requirements, as well as new features that further-benefit utilities, customers, energy managers, and third-party vendors. Read below to learn about the Green Button Retail Customer Schema, UsageSummary, Summary Billing, and UsagePoint metering capabilities.
Ensures Utilities and Third Parties Protect Customer Privacy
The Green Button standard requires that the energy-usage information data stream cannot contain any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and must be transmitted using a secure-transmission process; thus protecting the customer's privacy and energy-usage information. 
However, some energy-usage applications require access to a customer's location or multiple meter locations.  To address this requirement, the OpenADE Task Force, a committee of the UCAIug, has defined a Green Button Retail Customer Schema that provides this information to enable utilities to protect customers' PII while allowing them to meet regulators' and Third Party non-energy information requirements. The Retail Customer Schema requires utilities to transmit the PII in a separate, secured transmission apart from the data stream used to transmit a customer's energy-usage information and it requires the receiving application to logically connect the two, separate data streams.  Additionally, the Retail Customer data stream transmission must be authorized by the utility's customer.
Enables Utilities to Provide More Data in a Standardized Format
The Green Button UsageSummary capability enables utilities to provide non-energy billing-statement information, including: Payments, Generation & Distribution charges, Third Party fees, Administrative adjustments, etc.  It has been designed with the flexibility to support all utility billing categories. This allows Third Party applications to present customers with a finer-breakdown of their monthly energy usage.
Significantly Simplifies Energy Reporting for Energy Managers
The Green Button UsagePoint metering capability allows energy managers to link multiple-meter energy usage with locations and identify individual buildings. Its Summary Billing schema enables utilities to provide billing consumption for energy units, as well as cost, in a manner that enables energy managers to easily capture it from multiple points serviced by a single energy-service provider or across multiple utilities; significantly simplifying energy reporting for multiple consumption points.