•   almost 11 years ago

XML schema support

I see that neither SDG&E, nor PG&E include cost information in the green button data. This severely limits the potential use of the data since the savings can only be proven with the cost reduction!

Even between these two utilities, I see SDG&E including ElectricPowerUsageSummary tag with billing details which is missing in PG&E data! We should have some consistency in terms of details supported by utilities instead of making them optional and leaving it to utilities.

Just by showing that one uses more energy during say 2-4 PM doesn't guarantee cost reduction if you postpone the usage to say, 6-8 PM. This will realize in reduced cost, only if there is time of use rate in effect, which may be the case for electricity customers (not likely for gas customers).

Without rate info and the cost calculation rules available, it is hard to make a case for savings.

We should encourage utilities to expose the green button usage data (including rate and cost) using an API which can be tricky to secure, especially with the privacy concerns.

Till that happens, I don't see lot of opportunities for developers.


  • Manager   •   almost 11 years ago

    I agree that cost is a crucial issue for many apps, though I don't want to discourage submissions that that aim to be educational or use other metrics. There are a few options for developers who are including cost info, though.

    First, feel free to submit an app that has cost-based features that only work when cost data is included in the green button data. Reliant in Texas currently does release costs, and other utilities will be including cost data as they roll out Green Button programs later this year.

    Second, all utilities publish their rate schedules, PG&E has theirs at http://www.pge.com/nots/rates/tariffs/electric.shtml. The rates for residential customers increase per kWh as customers exceed the baseline level, which depends on zip code. So you can map the zip code from the address to the baseline and then you can calculate the costs under both standard and time of use rates. Another possibility is to ask the user to fill in the key details (baseline, rate type, etc.) from their bill.

    Third, you can go broad and use average rate data from the utilities, EIA, or OpenEI's utility rate database. You shouldn't try to pass that off as actual charges, but it can provide a rough cost estimate or provide a baseline for comparison with the user's data.

    As for the variation between utilities, Green Button is a voluntary program, so the utilities have a great deal of flexibility in deciding how to implement it. Part of the reason the Energy Department is sponsoring this competition is to get developers to start exploring the standard, offer feedback, wrestle it in to apps, and show utilities and utility customers the potential value of the data and where it needs to go next. So, thanks for your comment!

    More practically, if the variations in format create problems, you can pick one utility's format and run with it. Just make that clear in the description when you submit. Plenty of time to expand to other utilities post-deadline. You can always submit green button data with your app to make sure that we have good data to demo with, though a limited user base may hurt you in the potential impact category and the public vote.

    This competition rewards creative data use, solid design, and potential impact. If you can show the judges where you're going, even if you aren't quite there, you can still do very well.

    Let me know if I can be of further assistance, and email apps@hq.doe.gov if you have questions you'd like kept private.

  •   •   almost 11 years ago

    Hi Matthew, is there are data source that maps "the zip code from the address to the baseline"?

  • Manager   •   almost 11 years ago

    That depends on the individual utilities. For PG&E, you can find a mapping of zip to baseline territories here: http://www.pge.com/tariffs/RESZIPS.XLS

    And to map from the territory to the baseline quantities, use this: http://www.pge.com/tariffs/ResElecBaselineCurrent.xls


  •   •   almost 11 years ago

    @elixiraddons C

    this might be helpful for you to get tariff data


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