On April 5, 2010, Google Inc., the Climate Group and 45 other technology companies (collectively, the “Parties”) wrote a letter to President Barack Obama encouraging him to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by promoting ways for electric consumers to monitor and manage their energy consumption.

The Parties stated that if U.S. households were to save 15% of their energy use in the next 10 years, the greenhouse gas savings would be the equivalent of removing 35 million cars from the roads and would save consumers $46 billion on their energy bills.  The letter suggested that the President and his Administration adopt specific goals and affirmative steps necessary to effectuate the goal reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Parties told the President that consumers should have access to the following information: (1) ability to monitor their power usage in a way that will allow them to find out how they are consuming energy, (2) view price and available pricing plans, and (3) access information about generation sources of electricity.  The Parties noted that technologies already exist to achieve these goals, but said that the Federal government should adopt incentives to promote deployment of such technologies, including cost recovery.  The Parties stated that clear rules are needed on consumer access to information and for privacy and security protection of customer information.

Specifically, the Parties asked the President to consider four actions:

• Initiate an effort, led by the White House, to work with Federal agencies, States, industry and other stakeholders to develop the best strategies, programs and policies to provide consumers access to energy information;
• Direct the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency and ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to add “the availability of timely, useful and actionable energy information to consumers” as a criterion to consider in rulemakings, and other programs related to end-use electricity distribution and energy efficiency;
• Encourage the purchase and installation of technology, devices and delivery methods to help ensure that information on energy consumption is available to consumers; and
• Convene a White House summit to address how to empower consumers with better information and tools for managing their energy use.

A copy of the Letter is available at: http://www.theclimategroup.org/_assets/files/A-letter-to-President-Obama.pdf.