In September 2011, the U.S. CTO challenged utilities to adopt and drive the Green Button initiative, which provides Customers with a way to receive and use their Energy Usage Information (EUI). By now, several utilities and third party product vendors have adopted and implemented Green Button support and capabilities to address this challenge. As a utility you may be wondering, “Am I ready for the Green Button?”
The Green Button Challenge provides an excellent means of providing transparency and value to Customers by providing EUI in a simple, standardized, and secure fashion. It enables customer self-service and it provides ways for companies to innovate and provide new products and services.
The standards that support the Green Button also offer ways for utilities to save on costs while providing the value of EUI and interval usage data to their customers. Utilities can choose to offer their own Green Button applications developed in-house; they could choose to implement and integrate a packaged-solution to provide Green Button capabilities; or, they can simply offer their Customers Green Button data using the open standard and rely on other third party applications to provide Customers value at a lower cost to the utility.
With all of the benefits and options that the Green Button and related standards provide, it presents several business, technical, data integration, and security challenges that needs to be addressed by utilities, including:
- Should I provide real-time or near-real time usage information to my Customers using the Green button?
- What impact will providing Customers and Third Parties access to this data have on my Systems, and can my Systems scale to support this?
- What Green Button capabilities should I support? For example, should I provide third-party authorization capabilities for Green Button Data?
- I currently use a third party or hosted system for my Customer web portal, how can I ensure that I can provide Green Button support even if my system does not?
- How can ensure that Customer and Third Party access to this data is Secure?
These questions are just a sample of some of the challenges that Utilities are facing and will have to answer regarding the Green Button. I hope that this starts a dialog about Green Button support, so please don’t hesitate to leave comments or questions.