CCSC participates in CPUC’s Thought Leaders Series

Dr. Pincetl, Director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA, was invited to participate in the California Public Utility Commission’s (CPUC) 21st Century Thought Leaders in Essential Industries Speaker Series: Utilizing Energy Consumption Data to Improve Effectiveness of Policies and Programs. According to the CPUC, the ongoing Thought Series is designed to “stimulate thought and discussion of some of the most pressing challenges facing California utility regulators and the private sector industries impacted by state policies.”

Currently, it is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain disaggregated energy consumption data from investor owned utilities. At the Thought Leaders Summit Dr. Stephanie Pincetl made the case for wider access to electricity consumption data for projects and studies with a strong public benefit. Dr. Pincetl stated, “By providing researchers access to energy data, the state can better understand the behavior of classes of customers and the attributes of energy use as correlated with building types, ages, sizes, and locations, socio-demographic data, climate characteristics, and industry sector types.”  To emphasize the public interest benefits researchers can create with disaggregated energy data, Dr. Pincetl provided an overview of the Regional Energy Baselines Project and Jacki Murdock, an Urban Planning Masters student from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs presented the maps she created for CCSC’s recently released interactive map of electricity use in Los Angeles.

Pincetl_CPUCThe Thought Leader Series featured a presentation by Dr. Pincetl and a presentation on building energy databases and the associated costs, privacy, and security issues by Jason Adge of Direct Technology. It concluded with a discussion by panelists Ken Alex (Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown and the Director of the Office of Planning and Research), Andrew McAllister (Commissioner of the California Energy Commission), and Ian Kalin (Presidential Innovation Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy).

CPUC President Michael Peevey voiced his support for accountability and transparency in use of rate-payer funds, saying, “I strongly support access to data to ensure funds are invested wisely.”

The series was attended by over 100 people, ranging from general members of the public to people representing different third party concerns, such as utilities, privacy advocates, non-profits, and market participants. One of the biggest concerns of the audience was whether or not the data would tell people when a user was at home. While this may be a concern for some data accessed under smart metering, CCSC’s research uses monthly data, not real-time interval smart-metered data.

The meeting generated a lively and open discussion about existing procedures for sharing data and current limitations. CCSC looks forward to continuing the conversation on this important issue.

To view the slides presented at the Thought Leaders Series click here. This website also allows you to view a webcast of the session.