Lawmakers Back Online Energy Data in N.H.; Kuster Wants Federal Energy Advocate

Jun 17, 2019

Credit NHPR Staff

The state legislature has approved a plan to set up an online, state-wide energy data platform.

The bill, now awaiting Gov. Chris Sununu's approval, would set up an online system with individual and community-level information about energy use.

The platform would feature data from participating customers' meters and electric and natural gas utilities. It would be regulated by the Public Utilities Commission.

The PUC's residential ratepayer advocate Don Kreis and his staff spearheaded the bill.

In a statement, Kreis calls the proposal a "big deal." He says it would mean ratepayers could, for the first time, see their energy data in context and share it with service providers that can help them save money.

He says those might include weatherization businesses and others that can install technologies like battery storage, rooftop solar arrays and smart thermostats.

“In a perfect world, the utilities would simply develop a platform like this on their own,” Kreis says in his statement. “But in the real world, they need encouragement because efforts to bolster access to nonutility service providers runs counter to the traditional utility business model.”

Electric customers would cover most of the cost of the new system, but the PUC says it wouldn't have a big effect on individual bills.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster is co-sponsoring a bill to set up a consumer advocacy office at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

She says that would encourage public input on the rules that govern the nation's power grid.