Senators Propose Utility Incentives to Detail Electricity Consumption

U.S. Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who serves on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who serves on the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, introduced a bill today to empower consumers with information about their own energy use. Their common-sense proposal would spur innovation in energy efficiency by making information on electricity prices and consumption available for households and businesses.

"In order for our nation to be truly energy self-reliant, we must empower consumers to make better use of the energy we already produce," Udall said. "Consumers are a critical part of our national energy strategy. Just as Coloradans use information about gas prices and car mileage to make smart driving decisions, helping families and small businesses access information about their own electricity use will empower them to use energy more efficiently. This common-sense bill will give Colorado families the information they need to save money and make every kilowatt count."

"Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. This bill empowers American consumers with knowledge about how they use energy, so they can make decisions that save money and energy at the same time," Markey said. "From cars to corn flakes, families and businesses make better choices when they have access to more information."

"ITI strongly supports the E-Access Act, which builds on Green Button and other efforts that help consumers to better measure and manage their electricity usage and reduce their electricity costs," said Dean Garfield, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council. "Its enactment should help further unleash usage data and empower the marketplace to provide new solutions and broader choices in electricity usage services."

"The E-Access Act is designed to help provide commercial and residential consumers and their designated energy services providers with improved and more timely access to the consumer's own electricity usage data," said Chris Hankin, executive director of the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign. "The result should be an enlivened marketplace that provides new innovations and lower costs for consumers."

The Udall-Markey bill – the Access to Consumer Energy Information (E-Access) Act – would incentivize states and utilities to adopt policies that ensure consumers have timely access to electricity usage information. This proposal builds on and broadens the efforts that some states and utilities have already taken to make electricity usage information available to consumers.

The bill requires the U.S. Department of Energy to expand access to the State Energy Program to new state-led efforts at making consumer energy information more easily available. It also requires the department to issue model standards for electricity usage information programs and to assist eligible states in implementing such programs.

The Alliance to Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Information Technology Industry Council support the Udall-Markey bill.

Date Posted: 4/9/2014