I blogged previously about Aneesh Chopra's challenge to the electric power utility industry at last year's Gridweek conference. Aneesh Chopra is the Federal CTO of the US. He pointed to what the government initiated at the Federal Department of Veterans' Affairs, "Blue Button" access to personal health records. With the "click of a Blue Button", veterans can download their personal health records. Following the Government's lead private health companies like Aetna are offering the same Blue button access to personal health records. Chopra's idea was to provide Green Button access and the ability to download personal electric power usage information to utility customers.
Last week, Aneesh Chopra visited California to celebrate the launch of the Green Button web sites which are already available at PG&E and San Diego Gas and Electric. Southern California Edison has begun offering a Green Button program to certain of its customers who have smart meters. By clicking on the green button, customers can view online or download their historical electricity usage data in a standard form that allows them to view their data on their own desktop computer. You can see simple examples at the Green Button web site.
People are being encouraged to share their energy usage data with third party companies who would like access to consumer data because it helps them target their products to real consumer needs. With the Green Button system, a consumer can download previous electric power usage information from their utility and then make it available to an energy company (using a process designed to protect consumer privacy).