Text: S.3487 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (06/15/2010)


111th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 3487


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

June 15, 2010

Mr. Udall of Colorado 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 electric energy use will help consumers efficiently manage personal energy use;

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

(3) the right to access should be provided based on information requirements rather than dependent on specific technology so that all platforms can compete and innovation will be fostered;

(4) utilities should provide that usage data based on the best capabilities of the metering technology currently deployed in respective service areas of the utilities 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 from sources independent of the electric meters of the consumers (such as home energy management systems) and from sources independent of the utilities of the consumers; and

(6) consumers should retain the privacy of the electric energy information of the consumers.

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; and

“(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.

“(2) SMART METER.—Except as provided in subsection (e), the term ‘smart meter’ means the meter 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 right.—

“(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 an electronic form, in conformity with nationally recognized open standards, free of charge, and in a manner that is timely and convenient and that provides adequate protections for the security of the information and the privacy of the electric consumer.

“(2) PROVIDER OF INFORMATION.—The information shall be provided by the retail electricity provider of the consumer or such other entity as may be designated by the authority responsible for regulating the retail sale and delivery of electricity to the consumer.

“(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 24 hours after consumption has been recorded; 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 collection as is reasonably practicable and as prescribed by the entity with jurisdiction over metering and retail electric service of the consumer; 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 meter in use at the premise of the electric consumer; or

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

“(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 as prescribed by the entity with jurisdiction over metering and retail electric service for the electric consumer.

“(d) Retention.—An electric consumer shall have the right to access the retail electric energy information of the consumer, through the website of the retail electric provider or other electronic access authorized by the electric consumer, for a period of at least 13 months after the date on which the data is recorded, unless a different period is prescribed by the entity with jurisdiction over metering and retail electric service for the customer.

“(e) Direct meter access.—In the case of an electric consumer that is served by a smart meter capable of communicating 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 if access does 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.—A 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 entity with jurisdiction over metering and retail electric service for the consumer.

“(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 retail electric provider.

“(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, preserve the integrity of and 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) definitions of the terms ‘smart meters’ and ‘near real-time’; 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 relevant 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, or the regulatory authority that regulates the electric utility, adopted and implemented 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 State regulatory authorities and 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.”.