NJ Electric Utility Regulation Workshop: Part 3 – Technology and Data Management
As an increasing number of customers generate their own electricity and utilities manage more distributed resources, developments in technology create benefits on both sides of the meter. In the third part of a four-part workshop for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Richard Sedano and David Littell explored the many questions that arise around the use of energy data. The most important question regulators and utilities can ask is: what data should be collected and for what purpose? This question can be answered by examining load management goals, the rate design options enabled by technology, and the desired form of customer engagement. Once defined, stakeholders can work to address existing impediments to accessing data e.g., the lack of incentives for utilities to collect and share data, the expense of data management and standardization, concerns about compromising customer privacy, difficulties with customer opt-in programs, and fear of cybersecurity breaches. With the proper collection and management programs, energy data can be used to support clean energy technologies and meet infrastructure and resource needs, while offering customers more choices and potentially lowering prices and bills.