S 1029

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 1029

To amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to provide electric consumers the right to access certain electric energy information, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 19, 2011

Mr. UDALL of Colorado (for himself and Mr. BROWN of Massachusetts) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to provide electric consumers the right to access certain electric energy information, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Electric Consumer Right to Know Act' or the `e-KNOW Act'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--

      (1) improving consumers' understanding of and access to the electric energy usage information of the consumers will help consumers more effectively manage usage;

      (2) consumers have a right of access to the electric energy usage information of the consumers;

      (3) the right of access to electric energy usage information should be based on the need to have access to the information rather than on a specific type of smart metering technology and, as a result, all usage information platforms can compete and innovation will be fostered;

      (4) utilities should provide electric energy usage information based on the best capabilities of the metering technology currently deployed in the respective service areas or, on upgrade, based on standards recognized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology;

      (5) consumers should have the ability to access unaudited usage information directly from the electric meters of the consumers or from sources independent of the electric meters, and from sources independent of the utilities of the consumers;

      (6) consumers should retain the right to the privacy and security of electric energy usage information of the consumers created through usage;

      (7) consumers should have the right to control the electric energy usage information of the consumers and the right to privacy for the information when third party aggregators of data are involved in creation, management, or collection of the information; and

      (8) consumers should have the right to know how the authorized third-party data manager of the consumers will manage the retail electric energy information of the consumers once the manager has accessed the information.

SEC. 3. ELECTRIC CONSUMER RIGHT TO ACCESS ELECTRIC ENERGY INFORMATION.

    (a) In General- Title II of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 824 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`SEC. 215. ELECTRIC CONSUMER RIGHT TO ACCESS ELECTRIC ENERGY INFORMATION.

    `(a) Definitions- In this section:

      `(1) RETAIL ELECTRIC ENERGY INFORMATION- The term `retail electric energy information' means--

        `(A) the electric energy consumption of an electric consumer over a defined time period;

        `(B) the retail electric energy prices or rates applied to the electricity usage for the defined time period described in subparagraph (A) for the electric consumer;

        `(C) the cost of usage by the consumer, including (if smart meter usage information is available) the estimated cost of usage since the last billing cycle of the consumer; and

        `(D) in the case of nonresidential electric meters, any other electrical information that the meter is programmed to record (such as demand measured in kilowatts, voltage, frequency, current, and power factor).

      `(2) SMART METER- Except as provided in subsection (e), the term `smart meter' means the device used by an electric utility that--

        `(A)(i) measures electric energy consumption by an electric consumer at the home or facility of the electric consumer in intervals of 1 hour or less; and

        `(ii) is capable of sending electric energy usage information through a communications network to the electric utility; or

        `(B) meets the guidelines issued under subsection (h).

    `(b) Consumer Rights-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- Each electric consumer in the United States shall have the right to access (and to authorize 1 or more third parties to access) retail electric energy information of the electric consumer in--

        `(A) an electronic form, free of charge, in conformity with nationally recognized open standards developed by a nationally recognized standards organization; and

        `(B) a manner that is timely and convenient and provides adequate protections for the security of the information and the privacy of the electric consumer.

      `(2) SMART METERS- In the case of an electric consumer that is served by a smart meter that can also communicate energy usage information to a device or network of an electric consumer or a device or network of a third party authorized by the consumer, the consumer shall, at a minimum, have the right to access (and to authorize 1 or more third parties to access) usage information in read-only format directly from the smart meter.

      `(3) PROVIDER OF INFORMATION- The information required under this subsection shall be provided by the electric utility of the consumer or such other entity as may be designated by the applicable electric retail regulatory authority.

    `(c) Information- The right to access retail electric energy information under subsection (b) includes, at a minimum--

      `(1)(A) in the case of an electric consumer that is served by a smart meter, the right to access retail electric energy information--

        `(i) in machine readable form, not more than 48 hours after consumption has occurred; or

        `(ii) in accordance with the guidelines issued under subsection (h); or

      `(B) in the case of an electric consumer that is not served by a smart meter, the right to access retail electric energy information in machine readable form as expeditiously after the time of receipt in a data center (including information provided by third party services) as is reasonably practicable and as prescribed by the applicable electric retail regulatory authority; and

      `(2) except as otherwise provided in subsection (d)--

        `(A) in the case of an electric consumer that is served by a smart meter, data at a granularity that is--

          `(i) not less granular than the intervals at which the data is recorded and stored by the billing meter in use at the premise of the electric consumer; or

          `(ii) in accordance with the guidelines issued under subsection (h); and

        `(B) in the case of an electric consumer that is not served by a smart meter, data at granularity equal to the data used for billing the electric consumer, or more precise granularity, as prescribed by the applicable electric retail regulatory authority.

    `(d) Electric Energy Information Retention- An electric consumer shall have the right to access the retail electric energy information of the consumer, through the website of the electric utility or other electronic access authorized by the electric consumer, for a period of at least 13 months after the date on which the usage occurred, unless a different period is prescribed by the applicable electric retail regulatory authority.

    `(e) Data Security- Access described in subsection (d) shall not interfere with or compromise the integrity, security, or privacy of the operations of a utility and the electric consumer, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Commission under subsection (h).

    `(f) Cost Recovery- An electric utility providing retail electric energy information in accordance with otherwise applicable regulation of rates for the retail sale and delivery of electricity may recover in rates the cost of providing the information, if the cost is determined reasonable and prudent by the applicable electric retail regulatory authority.

    `(g) Additional Available Information- The right to access electric energy information shall extend to usage information generated by devices in or on the property of the consumer that is transmitted to the electric utility.

    `(h) Guidelines for Electric Consumer Access-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Commission shall (after consultation with State and local regulatory authorities, including the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the Secretary of Energy, other appropriate Federal agencies, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, consumer advocacy groups, utilities, and other appropriate entities, and after notice and opportunity for comment) issue guidelines that establish minimum national standards for implementation of the electric consumer right to access retail electric energy information under subsection (b).

      `(2) STATE AND LOCAL REGULATORY ACTION- In issuing the guidelines, the Commission shall, to the maximum extent practicable, be guided by actions taken by State and local regulatory authorities to ensure electric consumer access to retail electric energy information, including actions taken after consideration of the standard under section 111(d)(17).

      `(3) CONTENT- The guidelines shall provide guidance on issues necessary to carry out this section, including--

        `(A) the timeliness and granularity of retail electric energy information;

        `(B) appropriate nationally recognized open standards for data;

        `(C) a definition of the term `smart meters'; and

        `(D) protection of data security and electric consumer privacy, including consumer consent requirements.

      `(4) REVISIONS- The Commission shall periodically review and, as necessary, revise the guidelines to reflect changes in technology and the market for electric energy and services.

    `(i) Enforcement-

      `(1) ENFORCEMENT BY STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL- If the attorney general of a State, or another official or agency of a State with competent authority under State law, has reason to believe that any electric utility that delivers electric energy at retail in the applicable State is not complying with the minimum standards established by the guidelines under subsection (h), the attorney general, official, or agency of the State, as parens patriae, may bring a civil action against the electric utility, on behalf of the electric consumers receiving retail service from the electric utility, in a district court of the United States of appropriate jurisdiction, to compel compliance with the standards.

      `(2) SAFE HARBOR-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- No civil action may be brought against an electric utility under paragraph (1) if the Commission has, during the 2-year period ending on the date of the determination, determined that the electric utility adopted policies, requirements, and measures, as necessary, that comply with the standards established by the guidelines under subsection (h).

        `(B) PROCEDURES- The Commission shall establish procedures to review the policies, requirements, and measures of electric utilities to assess, and issue determinations with regard to, compliance with the standards.

      `(3) EFFECTIVE DATE- This subsection takes effect on the date that is 2 years after the date the guidelines under subsection (h) are issued.'.

    (b) Conforming Amendment- The table of contents for the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end of the items relating to title II the following:

      `Sec. 215. Electric consumer right to access electric energy information.'.

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