Some thoughts on the Inflation Reduction Act, the clean energy transition, and the power of focus
UtilityAPI started in a world where something like the IRA wasn’t possible. From our tiny perch in Oakland, California, we could see that fighting climate change would be impossible without the energy transition. And that an energy transition without UtilityAPI would be sluggish, expensive, and exclusionary. But neither Congress nor the United States’ national policy was focused on transitioning to clean energy.
Since then, UtilityAPI has continued to do the work, piling up greenhouse gas reductions, day in and day out, year after year. Glamorous? Nah. Effective? For sure. In 2020 alone, UtilityAPI was responsible for offsetting 24,294,6887 lbs of CO2 per employee.That’s about 1,100 car trips around the planet eliminated per employee.
The Inflation Reduction Act that we celebrated with President Biden today finally refocuses our national attention on the clean energy transition. Sure, all energy technologies still matter. But clean energy matters more right now. UtilityAPI has been preparing for this moment since we started. The wind is at our backs. And we’re so ready.
UtilityAPI democratizes the clean energy market by design. We support the entire industry. Our technology makes data available to anyone and everyone, from small one truck/one employee shops run by veterans all the way up to the biggest companies. That’s what we need — technology that exists at scale, so everyone can participate, no matter what their economic situation.
We want all these companies across the industry to use UtilityAPI data to drive the clean energy transition wherever they are, starting with historically ignored communities of poor and middle class people and people of color, which is to say, the majority of people in this country.
Yes, specialized technologies for those who can afford them are cool. But they’re not gonna get us where we need to go as a society. Let’s use the true gift of the Inflation Reduction Act — the gift of focus — to extend the clean energy transition to the broadest possible base. No more trickle-down energy solutions. Our communities need equitable infrastructure, at scale. Data is infrastructure. It’s time to put it to work. Let’s go.
Some 4th of July thoughts from UtilityAPI's CEO, Devin Hampton
by Langston Hughes
I am so tired of waiting,
For the world to become good
And beautiful and kind?
Let us take a knife
And cut the world in two --
And see what worms are eating
This week, the Supreme Court cut open our world, once again laying bare the rotting core of American life. For the many of us who believe in clean air and the right to control our own bodies, the Court’s rulings left us feeling humiliated, like we made another own goal. I, like many of us, am tired of feeling let down. America has so much promise! But I’m troubled by how far away from it we seem. A whole people, a whole society could drown between where we are and where I, too, am waiting, wishing to be.
Our country holds itself as a beacon on a hill, proffering equal opportunity and protection under the law*, all the while adding asterisks to the claim. Now, *self determination and clean air not included. It feels gut wrenching, backwards, and oppressive. This feeling is not new for Black people, or other marginalized communities, who have always had to find inner fortitude and strength in the face of what would seem to be unwinnable oppression by a country that fails to live its stated values.
We thirst for a radical change to a good and beautiful and kind world that America promises. But as a people, we also value progress and growth no matter how slow and incremental. Fox News loves them some MLK, but I’m guessing those same folks were not fans back in the 60s. We are going to get there. And we are going to get there even if the Supreme Court has decided to backslide us to a bygone era that feels starkly un-American. These rulings — from a Court that has sullied its so-called supremacy — are a setback. But they are not the final word.
Like we always do, we can flip the script, use these terrible setbacks as the baseline for creating stronger, more just paths forward. Even though I am tired, I am heartened by the chorus of folks who are doing just that. My inbox is flooded with people and companies doubling down by guaranteeing healthcare, by implementing and codifying new policies and laws that protect the air we breathe and committing to a path toward stopping climate change.
At UtilityAPI we’re proud to join the movement, and to lead our piece of it. As a company, we have donated to Planned Parenthood to help preserve care for others while guaranteeing access to all kinds of healthcare for our employees. We continue to invest in the data tools we offer, tools that arm other companies to win the fight against climate change.
This 4th of July, I want to celebrate America. Not the America that this Court misses or wants to force back upon us, but the America that celebrates our roots and the growth that sprouted from our high-minded — though flawed — beginnings. To do that, this week and beyond, we will fight to keep that growth and progress toward the world we want. Because the truth is, the world will never become good or beautiful or kind until we make it happen. We are tired, but now is not the time to roll over. It’s the time to fight.
So this 4th of July, I will be taking that to heart as I celebrate our country’s promise. Because as Langston Hughes also wrote, “I, too, am America.” Happy 4th y’all.
Unlimited free energy data from our partners, National Grid Upstate New York
You used to have to pay UtilityAPI to get quick access to the National Grid Upstate New York energy data you needed. Now, you don’t. You can use UtilityAPI to get the data for free from National Grid Upstate New York. You’ll still need to ask the customer for their consent, but you don’t need to pay us.
NOTE: This free service is only for National Grid territory in upstate New York, not the New York City area. [see map]
We recognize that this process is somewhat more complex than our usual registrations.. However, the New York utilities have decided to require these security provisions. And we have made it as smooth as possible.
That said, this is a big deal.
National Grid is the very first Investor Owned Utility in the United States to implement a free UtilityAPI-built data sharing platform. We’re excited to partner with them. They get it — data access is good for everyone, from customers to utilities to innovative companies like yours. This is also the first time an IOU has had a certified green button connect. That’s a promising sign for the future of data access.
How to Get Unlimited Free Data from National Grid Upstate New York
Simply register with NGNY. Once you answer their security questions and they approve you (which usually happens within a day), you’ll be able to get free UtilityAPI data from their customers. It’s just as fast and as easy as usual.
We fully believe that free, standardized, easy to use utility data should be available from every utility. But it's not. Yet. Until it is, you can always use UtilityAPI's national data service — at our transparent, reasonable rates — to get the data you need from 40 plus (and counting) major utilities across the country.
National Grid New York’s Green Button Connect platform has been certified as compliant with the Green Button Standard by the Green Button Alliance. The software platform, built by data access experts UtilityAPI, is the first to be certified at an investor-owned utility in the United States. National Grid New York’s customers can use the platform to securely share their energy data with authorized third parties — often energy efficiency, HVAC/energy management, demand response, EV charging, solar and energy storage companies. Likewise, those same third party companies, once registered and authorized, can use the system to request, manage and download data from their customers. No data is shared without customer consent, which the customer can revoke at any time.
“Green Button” is the energy industry’s data access and sharing standard. A Green Button Connect My Data (GBCMD) platform encourages innovation at the local level by giving local businesses easy access to the high quality data they need to accelerate clean energy transitions. This data is standardized, cleaned and available in many formats, which makes it highly useful to third parties. Data sharing is safe, secure, and managed by National Grid. The GBCMD platform uses encrypted, authenticated connections for transferring data — the same level of security as banks.
“National Grid New York’s certified platform is a major milestone in our work to fight climate change,” said UtilityAPI CEO Devin Hampton. “National Grid is leading utilities and their customers toward a future where everything and everyone in the energy ecosystem is connected. The data access this system provides positions them at the center of the national conversation around utility-enabled clean energy and innovation.”
“Our Green Button Connect platform makes it easy for customers to share data securely with third-party experts who can help them maximize and better understand their energy use,” said Carlos Nouel, National Grid Vice President of Transformation Programs. “It’s also important to become certified as compliant with the Green Button Standard because customers and National Grid alike will reap the benefits. It will be exciting to see how Green Button Connect enrollees and their interactions with authorized third parties will drive new energy efficiency initiatives and other programs, all based on data that they’ll have available at their fingertips.”
New certification paves the way for easier adoption of climate-change fighting technologies
Two days ago, the Green Button Alliance (GBA) certified the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Data Hive as Green Button Connect (GBC) Retail Customer compliant. The SVCE Data Hive, built by UtilityAPI, is the first GBC in the world to obtain this certification.
In 2019, the GBA published the Retail Customer update, an addition to the standard that had long been discussed within the industry. Retail Customer provides for the secure sharing of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) — information linking specific meters to the data. This update, along with other updates to streamline the customer authorization process, paved the way for the more widespread adoption of the GBC standard that is now underway across the United States and Canada.
The previous version of the GB standard called for the exchange of anonymous usage data. Someone requesting the data could download, for example, intervals for 20 meters. But they wouldn’t know which meter went with which intervals. Thus, anonymity and usefulness were at odds, with the latter taking the short end of the stick. The fully featured Retail Customer standard thrusts the balance back toward usefulness.
UtilityAPI considers the Data Hive to be a “fully-featured” GBC because it offers the features necessary to make an impact on climate change.
“The recognition of the Data Hive as Green Button Connect Retail Customer compliant validates the secure data sharing process that the tool offers,” said Justin Zagunis, SVCE Director of Decarbonization and Grid Innovation Programs. “And having an easy data sharing mechanism in place for both the installer and customer helps our community continue transitioning away from fossil fuels to clean electricity.”
The SVCE Data Hive always offered safe, secure sharing of PII, even before the GBA certified it as compliant with the Retail Customer GBC standard. UtilityAPI built it to do so, as it does for all of its GBC implementations. “SVCE is leading the world in showing what a grid-of-the-future can be. The Data Hive getting GBA-certified reinforces that SVCE's innovations are safe and secure,” says Daniel Roesler, founder and CTO of UtilityAPI.
In 2021, UtilityAPI applied to the GBA for certification of the new standard for the SVCE Data Hive. The Data Hive was first in line for certification when the GBA updated their test suite. After the Data Hive was certified, UtilityAPI’s GBCs for National Grid, Fort Collins Municipal Utilities and Peninsula Clean Energy were certified as Green Button Connect Retail Customer compliant as well. Individuals and businesses that download Data Hive data, or data from any certified GBC implementation, can get useful data that helps them move forward with their climate change-fighting innovations quicker, more easily, and more cheaply.
Following two years of explosive growth and momentum, the Series A funds will be used to revolutionize the energy market by boosting utility data access to generate energy savings at scale.
OAKLAND, CA – UtilityAPI today announced the close of Series A funding with a $10 million investment, led by Aligned Climate Capital, with participation from ZOMA Capital. The new funds will serve to rapidly expand the company’s ability to satisfy the exploding market for utility-level data sharing platforms.
UtilityAPI is the software industry leader in providing secure, standardized, authorized access to utility data. In 2014, Daniel Roesler founded the company to fight climate change by offering a simple, fast, automated solution for sharing utility customer bills and interval data, shared only with explicit customer consent, and revocable at any time. Historically, energy efficiency service providers spent dozens of hours compiling and organizing customer usage data in order to propose appropriate technology solutions; UtilityAPI’s software collects the data in a moment. This time savings streamlines the sales process for clean energy companies, allowing them to provide clean energy solutions faster, and more cheaply. It is estimated that companies using their services prevent about 15 million pounds of CO2 emissions every month.
“Utility API drastically lowers the barriers for deploying energy efficient technologies and the services that rely upon them. These services are the backbone of the future of energy and the energy transition. Without data exchange, this future is not possible,” said Utility API CEO Devin Hampton. “This, coupled with our industry-leading commitment to privacy and security, creates a future we can all trust.”
“Data access shouldn’t be a roadblock to clean energy deployment,” said Aligned Climate Capital CEO Peter Davidson. “UtilityAPI solves this challenge by making it quick and easy for clean energy companies and utilities to share data, while still protecting consumer privacy.”
Aligned and UtilityAPI share a mission to fight climate change. But that’s far from their only synchrony. Both companies have a pronounced interest in diversifying the clean energy sector. Among other factors, Aligned focuses on companies to invest in through the lens of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) metrics. UtilityAPI is a company led by a diverse leadership team of three people who share no major demographics. In 2020, Hampton, UtilityAPI's CEO, took to social media to hold up a mirror to his industry, writing, “As a clean energy leader and a black man, I often go to conferences and gatherings where I am one of a few, if not the only black person in the room.” He later co-founded Edict, a movement to diversify climate tech.
Since the start of the pandemic, the company has negotiated deals with numerous Investor owned utilities (IOUs), Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs), and Municipal Utilities in the United States and Canada to bring their data sharing platform to millions of customers, third parties and energy efficiency providers.
Our CEO’s take on UtilityAPI’s latest funding round
Fighting climate change has been the mission of UtilityAPI since approximately forever. Data access has been our path, a choice the market has validated. Our pipeline has tripled in the past year. We now cover millions of utility customers. Thousands of clean tech companies rely on our service to offer their climate change-fighting technologies. What we do is critical, and we’re making an impact. Our new investors, Aligned Climate Capital and ZOMALAB, have just committed to help us do it.
UtilityAPI sees utilities as vital partners in building this new future. So this is a great day for utilities. We’re on the cusp of being able to offer every utility our proven, mature technology — a service that positions them at the hub where innovation and the energy transition meet.
It’s also a great day for DERs — all those brilliant, innovative energy efficiency companies that are driving us toward a sustainable future. Good utility data that’s easy to access undergirds every piece of technology we have to fight climate change. When UtilityAPI grows, thousands more businesses large and small across the country gain access to the data we can share, which frees up their time to do more of what they do best — install even more climate-friendly solutions.
I’d like to talk about our new partners, Aligned Capital Partners and ZOMA Capital. These investors share our mission to create a sustainable, equitable future for generations to come. They’ve been easy to work with and deeply helpful, which bodes well for the work to come. Aligned’s representative on our Board will be Nneka Kibuule, who brings her years of experience in the energy ecosystem, as well as her leadership in creating a diverse, more inclusive, and stronger clean tech sector, a goal we have long shared. ZOMA has also given us a new Board member, Bud Vos, with deep experience in distributed energy and the grid. He’s built and sold companies in our space and is a great addition to our team.
From our time in the early days swimming in the stream of ideas with other companies at Powerhouse (thanks for your support Emily!) to our time with the ohana at Elemental Excelerator learning from each other as we went through our cohorts together (shout out to Dawn). I’d also like to recognize Elena Foukes, UtilityAPI’s co-founder and first CEO, for pouring her heart into creating a company that everyone in the industry both loved and relied upon. This company has benefited and grown from the attention of whip smart, powerful women.
Departing Board members Dr. Lara Pierpoint, Diane Levin, and John Powers have each lavished UtilityAPI with their insights and connections within the industry. UtilityAPI is noticeably better and stronger for them. I also want to thank Kyle Cherrick for powerfully evangelizing on behalf of UtilityAPI since the start.
Finally, I’d like to thank the UtilityAPI team. Eight years ago, Daniel Roesler’s vision and hard work brought this company to life. His passion for data access coupled with his deep technical and industry knowledge sustains it. But there would be no UtilityAPI without our COO, Lynne Wander. Lynne came on board to run the company in 2016. She has gone way beyond that. Tapping in to her deep well of empathic, transparent leadership, she has created a microcosm of the world we want to live in — a just, diverse, and inclusive company that attracts great employees, and keeps them (0% turnover since the start of the pandemic…)
Our team is awesome, our advisers, partners, and customers are top notch, and the funding is now in place to have an even bigger impact on fighting climate change. Let’s get to work!
Correcting Misinformation about Green Button in Ontario
Utilismart, UtilityAPI and Screaming Power are working together, along with Ontario Utilities, to establish a Green Button MYTH BUSTERS campaign to ensure Ontario’s energy data sharing strategy meets our Ministry of Energy’s timeline and is implemented effectively. We believe the best way to implement Green Button in Ontario is to be clear on what Green Button means for Ontario Electricity and Natural Gas Utilities, market software vendors, third parties, Ontario ratepayers, and end-users.
In the coming weeks, we will be providing FAQs on our websites and other venues in an engaging and hopefully entertaining way to explain the misconceptions in Ontario’s Green Button implementation to reduce energy costs. The province of Ontario is looking to find ways to use this data standardization regulation to create jobs and educate Ontario’s energy consumers.
An Easier, Less Expensive Green Button
We recognize that simplifying technical implementations, standardized/secure data management and evolving the best practices for customer experience can get monotonous, and this is why we bring you the Green Button MYTH BUSTERS campaign. As we move past COVID-19 and implement digitization through Green Button, we will help Utilities reduce implementation costs and kick-off Ontario’s energy digitization party. An implementation strategy that keeps Utility costs down and clarifies a complex process is the most important step to creating a stronger relationship between the Utility, their vendors, the ratepayer, and innovation.
Rely on Experts to Claim a Place at the Head of the Line for Green Button Certification
Our FAQs will help our Ontario energy ecosystem effectively grow. Education will allow Utilities to understand better the critical steps required to achieve their goals and create a more robust economy. The FAQs will provide valuable information on the GBA certification process and help Utilities clarify their unique role as the only party required to be Green Button certified in Ontario. As of this date, full Ontario certification at the Green Button Alliance is not ready yet. Ontario Utility vendors are not able to conduct the Green Button NEASB 3.3 certification at this time. According to the Green Button Alliance, the certification processes and services will be available to Ontario utilities soon, so Utilities should start getting in line to be certified before November 1, 2023. To mitigate the certification-related risks, Utilities should work with Subject Matter Experts that truly understand the process and have relevant experience. Our core technologies are built utilizing the highest degree of Green Button expertise. Our Green Button Toolset is a mature, robust solution that exceeds the minimum GBA 3.3 certification for Utilities in North America.
Full certification is the only option for Ontario Utilities. Our team brings certification and integration expertise to large and small utilities to enable informed decisions while saving time and money. Our core Green Button solution already has more than 1500 third parties connected to it. This provides additional data-driven value to utility customers. We bring education and tools to the third-party market to support Ontario-made solutions and assist in achieving Ontario's overall short- and long-term energy, digitization and cost reduction goals.
Utilities in Ontario will require assistance in implementing Green Button data-sharing capability, including education, planning, integration, security, testing and deployment. Our FAQs will facilitate collaboration and encourage information sharing between all interested parties. Utilities that adopted NEASB ESPI 3.2 standard or have been offering Green Button "DMD" Download my Data in their customer engagement tools are required to use NEASB ESPI 3.3 standard adoption, which requires solution changes and the implementation of new data sharing concepts. These changes imply that existing data and user interfaces will evolve and will start utilizing innovative technologies by November 1, 2023.
The new NEASB ESPI 3.3 standard brings excellent opportunities for simplified third-party data publishing and engagement, independent from legacy customer engagement portals. Our FAQs will be offering Ontario a way to demystify Ontario’s Green Button efforts to ensure a robust, transparent and competitive rollout.
We are starting our MYTH BUSTERS campaign tour by explaining the Green Button digitization game and offering Utilities a no-myth way to understand how their specific billing system plays a part in the overall solution. As part of the campaign, we are offering an accessible forum to see the Ontario Energy Board's (OEB) Industry-Led Working Group (IWG) evolving actions. This Working Group meets multiple times a week to help plan the Green Button rollout requirements.
We understand that this planning is time-consuming and costly to manage for anyone working on Ontario's digitization efforts. As a result, we are offering a set of FAQs provided to the Ontario Energy Market through the OEB IWG meetings. These FAQs can be found on OEB's website, but we want you to have easy access to them as they are the building blocks that come out of our industry-led collaboration. You can see these FAQs at www.greenbuttonontario.ca. Check our sites and socials at the end of each week for FAQ updates.
To learn more or talk to us, please visit our Partners’ websites.
Independent Audit Verifies UtilityAPI’s Internal Controls and Processes
Oakland, CA – UtilityAPI, a software company that provides secure, standardized, authorized access to utility data, today announced that it has completed its SOC 2 Type II audit, performed by KirkpatrickPrice. This attestation provides evidence that UtilityAPI has a strong commitment to security and to delivering high-quality services to its clients by demonstrating that they have the necessary internal controls and processes in place to protect private data.
A SOC 2 audit provides an independent, third-party validation that an organization’s information security practices meet industry standards stipulated by the AICPA. During the audit, an organization’s non-financial reporting controls as they relate to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of a system are tested. The SOC 2 report delivered by KirkpatrickPrice verifies the suitability of the design and operating effectiveness of UtilityAPI’s controls to meet the standards for these criteria.
“Every day, UtilityAPI’s customers trust us with their private data. Undergoing a SOC 2 audit is one way we can show them their trust in us is both warranted and appreciated,” said Daniel Roesler, UtilityAPI’s founder and Chief Technology Officer.
“The SOC 2 audit is based on the Trust Services Criteria,” said Joseph Kirkpatrick, President of KirkpatrickPrice. “UtilityAPI delivers trust-based services to their clients, and by communicating the results of this audit, their clients can be assured of their reliance on UtilityAPI’s controls.”
UtilityAPI provides the fast, easy, secure energy data that everyone in the new energy economy needs. Our customers — utilities, clean energy companies, and other technology providers — use us every day to exchange energy usage data. Customers rely on UtilityAPI data for building benchmarking, ESG reporting, feasibility analyses, quote generation, asset management, and measurement and verification. UtilityAPI is building the data network for a cleaner, more resilient energy sector. UtilityAPI.com.
KirkpatrickPrice is a licensed CPA firm, PCI QSA, and a HITRUST CSF Assessor, registered with the PCAOB, providing assurance services to over a thousand clients in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and Australia. The firm has more than a decade of experience in information security by performing assessments, audits, and tests that strengthen information security practices and internal controls. KirkpatrickPrice most commonly performs assessments on SOC 1, SOC 2, PCI DSS, HIPAA, HITRUST CSF, GDPR, ISO 27001, FISMA, and FERPA frameworks, as well as advanced-level penetration testing. For more information, visit www.kirkpatrickprice.com.
UtilityAPI, Screaming Power and Utilismart Corporation have teamed up to offer the Ontario marketplace a proven Green Button toolset managed and operated in Canada. These three partners have decades of experience and deep expertise in the energy sector. They’re offering the Ontario energy marketplace a mature product that satisfies the demands of the Ontario Government’s mandate.
The team is looking to streamline utility adoption. They have made it as easy as possible for utilities to seamlessly fold this toolset into their existing offerings through whatever channel the utility prefers. The Ontario Green Button toolset can be an add-on to Screaming Power’s Scream Utility and Utilismart Corporation’s Settlement Manager, C&I Energy Manager and Consumer Engagement Platform products and other existing portals. Or, it can stand alone as a Green Button toolset, to be used in conjunction with existing utility customer engagement systems.
All blog posts are to help UtilityAPI users connect with their customers and successfully collect their utility data.