Energy management is of increasing importance to business leaders across many corporate functions, driven by increased energy supply options (including renewables and storage); opportunities to reduce energy use and cost; increased focus on corporate responsibility and sustainability; and significant product innovation across the industry. Energy is no longer considered a line item cost, but a resource that can be optimized and reduced with benefit to the enterprise.
Data are the foundational enabler to all of these activities. Two key sources, utility bill and smart meter data, can be used to enable better decision making, which makes it easier to baseline current energy usage and model potential scenarios to reduce it. In many cases, the difference between successful and unsuccessful facility and energy management initiatives is accurate, timely and complete data.
Unfortunately, there are significant barriers to many building and energy management professionals who are seeking energy data to propose and implement new initiatives. First, the energy market is fragmented, with a few hundred major investor-owned utilities serving most of the major metropolitan areas, and over 3,000 total electricity utilities across the U.S. (including natural gas utilities, the total number of energy suppliers is over 4,500).
Across these utilities, there is a varying range of data made available to customers: in some utility territories, 15-minute interval data is widely available, but in others, only a small set of aggregated monthly totals is provided.