Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Key Parks Associates director makes case for data disaggregation

Giving power customers home energy-use data alone is “somewhat insufficient,” and utilities need to consider data disaggregation, Tom Kerber of research and consulting firm Parks Associates said during a webcast last week on business models for energy services. He is director of research for home controls and energy.

The data he showed was more blunt. His firm surveyed consumers with daily data flowing in the final quarter of last year and 42% said they looked at their home's power use patterns less than once/month. Slightly over one third consulted the data 1-3 times/month.

Less than 10% viewed the data 1-3 times/week. Only 3% took a peek daily. And 12% said they ignored it altogether.

 “You get a monthly energy bill,” Kerber said in a flat tone. “So, essentially, they're looking at it less frequently than they're looking at the bill,” he added. “So the question is, ‘how can I add more value? What would make this more relevant, more meaningful to want to see it or make it more engaging?'” Disaggregation is one way. The idea is to take the total consumption from the utility meter and break out individual components, he explained, showing slides that mentioned the firms Bidgely and Onzo.

For example, “it's saying, ‘Of the total consumption, so much is consumed by a refrigerator, by your air conditioner, by your furnace, by your dryer.' The more detail you have, the more insight you can give selections you might take.

“It also kind of corrects misperceptions people have about what products in their house consume the most electricity. There is a general misconception that the things you have control over are driving most of the energy bill.”

An old fridge in the garage might be sucking up a lot of power and the best solution may well be to junk it, Kerber suggested.

Utilities can help people target “energy hogs” via disaggregation, he said. “This is not theoretical anymore. Now, several companies have products in the market,” including Bidgely and Onzo.

Apogee Interactive integrated its Ames bill-analysis software into the customer-facing website hosted by Flint Energies in Warner Robbins, Georgia, the software firm said this fall. The software reportedly “provides an explanation and disaggregation of utility bills by end-use, revealing answers to why bills vary from month to month or year to year."

From the article, "Key Parks Associates director makes case for data disaggregation." 

Next: Parks research finds growth in home smart energy

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