CPUC and AB 802
Most of the recent conversation at the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) has been around how to implement assembly bill AB 802. AB 802 has provisions that require utilities to allow access to data that has long been safeguarded as “too sensitive to release”, namely utility bill usage data. AB 802 requires the utilities to provide accurate utility bill data to property owners, and potentially others, upon request. Although this might seem insignificant it is a huge step in truly understanding how buildings use energy and will provide insight into customer behavior.
The second component of AB 802 is setting the rules on how to determine “baselines”. A baseline would be the buildings existing energy use before improvements are made. To measure performance you need to establish guidelines for making the baseline consistent across a variety of building types. Consistent and accurate baselines will be an important step moving forward. This is a critical first step in setting the stage for incentive programs based on measured data, something we have always championed.
Much of the baseline conversation deals with the specifics of what information the utilities will be required to provide and the time frame in which they have to deliver the information upon request. Establishing accurate baseline information and providing access to utility bill data will allow property owners to make informed decisions on what improvements will be the most effective when upgrading their buildings.
Access to data has always been a challenge for the home performance industry. AB 802 is paving the way to allow new approaches to saving energy in residential and non-residential buildings and we are encouraged to see restrictions being lifted.