Washington, DC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- September 27, 2012 - One year on from its launch the Green Button initiative is an impressive first step towards standardization of electricity usage data, according to a new review from the Edison Foundation’s IEE.

In this past year Green Button has received commitments from 20 utilities representing 36 million residential customers – with availability already for about 11.5 million customers – and has motivated the development of 68 applications. Such standardization of energy data increases the potential market size for all energy software, attracting more developers and more investment.

The Green Button brief sets out to provide an overview of how utility customer engagement programs can be enhanced by the initiative and uses case studies to demonstrate how the adoption of Green Button by utilities is lowering barriers to entry and accelerating innovation by technology companies.

The cycle works as follows:

  • Utilities are gatekeepers of customer energy consumption data.
  • Technology developers create applications that help customers understand and manage energy use.
  • Customers signal preferences and provide feedback to developers by using certain types of applications.

With so many utilities and technology companies already committed to the initiative, the crucial link becomes the customer – and it will be a success if it can drive customers to understand their energy consumption and to take action to reduce it. Given that the average customer spends only 6 minutes per year interacting with their utility, drawing attention to energy consumption continues to be a tough challenge.

To successfully engage the customer through Green Button, three elements are critical according to the IEE:

  • A push towards the automation of data transfer, as currently Green Button requires customers to download their energy usage data to a computer and then manually upload it to a third party. As the Green Button movement matures, an automation process, “Green Button Connect My Data,” where the customer clicks a button to push the data to a third party, will become the norm
  • The establishment of frameworks for third party authorization, which will need to be identified by utilities and regulators
  • A “go-to” marketplace for Green Button applications, as although significant progress has been made on the production of apps, getting them to the customer remains a challenge.

Once customers are on board, Green Button could become the tipping point that unleashes the innovation cycle for energy usage data.