Green Button Initiative to Give 15 Million Households Tools to Shrink Their Energy Bills
Responding to President Obama’s call for an “all-of-the-above” strategy to help consumers reduce their energy costs, the Administration announced today that nine major utilities and electricity suppliers will commit to providing more than 15 million households access to data about their own energy use with a simple click of an online “Green Button.” By providing consumers with secure, easy-to-understand information about how they are using energy in their households, Green Button can help them reduce waste and shrink bills.
“Empowering American families to shrink their own utility bills is an important part of this Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “With new online tools made possible by the Green Button, families will have easy access to information on how they can reduce their energy use and put more money in their pocket.”
“Green Button will arm millions of Americans with information they can use to lower their energy bills,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “Innovative tools like these are good for our economy, good for the health of our communities, and an essential part of our approach toward a secure and clean energy future that works for Americans.”
Inspired by a White House call to action, Green Button is an industry-led effort that allows electricity customers to download their household or building energy-use data in a consumer- and computer-friendly format.
The utilities and electricity suppliers making new commitments include:
•American Electric Power, serving 5.3 million customers in 11 states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia);
Green-Button-enabled web and smartphone applications promise to help consumers choose the most economical rate plan for their use patterns; provide customized energy efficiency tips; provide easy-to-use tools to size and finance rooftop solar panels; and deliver virtual energy audit software that cuts costs for building owners and gets retrofits started sooner. Companies announcing today that they are developing applications or services for businesses and consumers using this industry data standard include: Belkin, Efficiency 2.0, EnergySavvy, FirstFuel, Honest Buildings, Lucid, Plotwatt, Schneider-Electric, Simple Energy, and Sunrun.
The commitments announced today build on similar commitments made in January by Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison, Oncor, Pepco Holdings Inc., Glendale Water and Power, and San Diego Gas & Electric to provide the capability to nearly 12 million households in 2012.
Additional Steps by the Federal Government to Empower Customers
Leveraging the commitments by the private sector, leading Federal agencies including the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology announced today that:
•Apps for Energy Contest to Spur Development of New Online and Mobile Tools – With initial co-sponsorship from the Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Itron, the Department of Energy announced today its first Apps for Energy contest to spur development of energy-related software applications, based on the Green Button standard, that will help consumers gain new insights, take action, and save on their utility bills. The contest complements a recently closed $8 million grant funding opportunity to help consumers better manage their energy consumption from new smart grid technologies.
The Administration has been working to shrink consumer energy bills. This includes:
•Reducing Energy Bills for Low Income Americans: Since October 2009, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have completed energy upgrades in more than one million homes. On average, these upgrades save American families more than $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone.