In March 2010, Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass.), an Alliance Honorary Vice-Chair, introduced H.R. 4860, the Electric Consumer Right to Know Act, or 'e-Know Act.'
This bill would require utilities to make energy consumption data available to their customers – particularly for those with so-called “smart meters,” which are devices that can record data on energy usage and transmit it to utilities, consumers or third parties such as energy management companies.
The rapidly expanding availability of smart meters presents an opportunity to provide consumers with a valuable tool for reducing energy usage: access to near-real-time data on energy use. This information could help home or business owners find ways to reduce their energy use.
Rep. Markey's proposed bill would require utilities to make energy use data available at fifteen-minute intervals to consumers who own smart meters. For customers with standard meters, utilities would be required to provide data to whenever they made meter readings (as they presently do on a normal billing cycle).
The bill would also allow customers to give third parties access to their consumption data. This way, third-party energy management services could process and reinterpret data from smart meters and program smart appliances. Such services could simplify smart meters' use, create the potential for greater energy savings, and allow for an aggregation of savings for load management.
Either state attorney generals or consumers would be able to take legal action to enforce this requirement if they believed a utility was not providing appropriate data access.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and as of late June had five cosponsors.
Senator Mark Udall (D-Co.) has introduced counterpart legislation in the Senate. His bill, S. 3487, is broadly the same as Rep. Markey's bill, but would require consumers with smart meters be provided with one-hour data intervals and utilities would have twenty-four hours to provide it, rather than in near-real-time as is the case with Rep. Markey's version.