Without a data platform, getting basic and standard information about energy usage from utilities is a huge undertaking. (Dana Wormald | New Hampshire Bulletin)
The Public Utilities Commission issued an order on Wednesday allowing a statewide energy data platform to move forward, a decision culminating a two-year process.
Proponents say the platform will make essential energy data available to ratepayers around the state and open the door to energy projects requiring this information, and that it will be instrumental in helping ratepayers save money, reduce energy usage, and have greater say in where energy comes from. The goal is to give consumers more control over energy spending and make prices more transparent.
“The Commission supports making utility data available while implementing strong privacy and security standards to protect the data of utilities and their customers,” the March 2 order states. The commission approved both the design and framework that stakeholders put forward in a settlement agreement in March 2021.
Without a data platform, getting basic and standard information about energy usage from utilities is a huge undertaking, a barrier even for towns with adequate resources, such as Hanover, that want to procure more renewable energy. Having the data would enable third-party services, like smartphone apps, that help people manage energy use at home or allow for more accurate pricing plans.
The order instructs stakeholders to establish a cost-benefit methodology before they can seek out requests for proposals from contractors to build the platform. Those stakeholders include the New Hampshire utilities, the Office of the Consumer Advocate, Clean Energy New Hampshire, the town of Hanover, and the city of Lebanon, as well as state Rep. Kat McGhee and the Mission:data coalition, which includes over 30 technology companies.
The cost of the project won’t be determined until a request for proposal is approved.
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