LEADING THE INDUSTRY IN GREEN BUTTON INNOVATION
n an era of service evolution and technology advancement for LDCs, London Hydro has developed a unique “digital utility” strategy, which has successfully positioned the company to address future needs. So far, the strategy has improved London Hydro’s revenues and is keeping the company at the forefront of emerging technology. Green Button is one of the key digital initiatives stemming from the strategy. In 2012, the Government of Ontario launched the Green Button initiative to provide utility customers with easy, secure access to their energy usage information in a consumerfriendly, computer-based format. London Hydro saw the value and became one of the first utilities in Canada to provide Green Button accessibility to customers. Green Button accesses smart meter data and shares it with applications to provide customers with more choice and convenience, while creating an open-access utility. Customers can choose from a selection of approved apps that use the Green Button format and grant permission to securely share their smart meter data with the app. In turn, the apps provide customers with helpful information and analysis to help them conserve energy and reduce their costs. This increased engagement and transparency helps households and businesses conserve energy and better manage their electricity bills. Thames Valley District School Board and the Budweiser Gardens sports-entertainment centre, for example, have already benefitted from the implementation of Green Button solutions, which have helped both see more efficient energy management and significant cost reductions.
Three central pillars
By taking an aggressive approach in supporting a secure, scalable and universally accessible framework, London Hydro has been recognized as a Green Button program leader and an innovator for three key elements of the technology solution design: • Standards base: Open data by design mitigates the creation of data silos, which can become barriers. Customers can access data from multiple facilities across different utilities; open data also ensures that solutions work across provincial and international boundaries.
• Open sources: By leveraging the greater development community, the apps and tools needed to interpret data and help customers use energy more efficiently can be developed at a faster pace and in greater numbers. This also helps to lower licensing and development costs, and creates a marketplace for skilled resources. • Cloud computing: This is a game-changer for obtaining near-real-time data and behind-the-meter analytics to facilitate data integration.
First to receive certification
The Green Button Alliance (GBA) is a U.S.-based non-profit organization formed to foster the development, compliance and widespread adoption of the Green Button standard. The Green Button Connect My Data (CMD) Certification Program is the industry standard for secure access and sharing of energy usage data. London Hydro was the first utility to complete the GBA’s Download My Data and Connect My Data testing and certification processes, which means London customers can view and share their data with confidence. “London Hydro is taking a leadership position by effectively leveraging the full capabilities of the Green Button standard,” said Barry Haaser, Executive Director of the Green Button Alliance. To showcase and further develop the initiative, London Hydro has integrated the Green Button experience into its Innovation Centre. The centre serves as a hub for creative thinking and problem solving with the participation of London Hydro customers, as well as being a space for application developers to create and test innovative Green Button–powered solutions. To date, the Green Button software has been adopted by two other utilities, Festival Hydro and Whitby Hydro, while a cooperative pilot project between London Hydro and Union Gas is looking into providing customers with real-time data over a mobile phone application. London Hydro CEO Vinay Sharma understands the potential of embedding digital solutions into the utility’s strategy: “Technology is key for all utilities,” he says. “The solutions being developed can span across borders and LDCs.” Learn more about London Hydro’s Green Button initiative at mygreenbutton.ca.