Measuring at the Meter: California Takes the First Steps

by: Jake Oster, EnergySavvy’s Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs

A few weeks ago the Governor of California signed AB802 into law. AB802 is a first-of-its-kind energy efficiency law that calls for the measurement of energy savings to be evaluated based on “normalized metered energy consumption.” As I wrote when the bill passed, this is a major milestone for the measurement of energy efficiency because measuring at the meter, while making adjustments to account for outliers, is a true accounting of how energy efficiency impacts the grid and provides value for ratepayers.

The first step in implementing AB802 is coming quickly, in the form of “high opportunity projects and programs,” which go live in early 2016. To set the table for a 2016 roll out, yesterday the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released its first indication of what the new rules for measuring at the meter will look like.

“Normalized Metered Energy Consumption”


At the core of the new law are these four words and how they will be interpreted. For those of us in the industry, these four words can mean many different things, but it is the CPUC’s interpretation that matters the most. And the first draft of the CPUC guidance is a promising start.

First, let’s take the most open-ended term, “normalized,” and what this means. According to the CPUC, we can’t ignore the other factors that can impact energy consumption. Normalized energy consumption has to account for the external factors that “can influence energy use trends.” In practical terms, that means variations in rates, commodity prices, or even macroeconomic changes across a service territory. For example, if natural gas prices suddenly rise, a reduction in natural gas consumption is a likely result. You don’t want to accidentally count those reductions as energy efficiency. Accurate measurement should control for these types of external factors and is an important part of providing an accounting for energy efficiency that will be accepted by all stakeholders.

The other three words are a little more straightforward but still require some important parameters. “Metered” makes clear that savings must be tied to a meter. For example, point-of-sale retail programs that allow customers to buy discounted lightbulbs at the hardware store are not eligible for metered measurement. Because those savings cannot be tied back to a meter, we will have to continue measuring those programs with predetermined estimates. Savings also needs real meter data. While estimated meter reads may be acceptable for billing, real meter data is a requirement for measuring energy savings. Real meter data is an important factor for getting measurement correct. Finally, the simplest phrase, “energy consumption” accounts for a change in energy usage as the result of an intervention.

For measurement policy wonks, the important signal is that the CPUC’s approach carefully balances rigorous measurement protocols with the practicality of quickly rolling out high opportunity projects and programs. The starting definition for “normalized metered energy consumption” protects ratepayer dollars and allows California utilities to move quickly and nimbly to roll out programs under the new measurement paradigm.  The CPUC is also ensuring that transparency remains a centerpiece of energy savings measurement. Black box approaches won’t meet the test. Considering the importance of getting metered measurement “right,” measurement methodologies will need to be replicable, open to peer review, and well documented. This level of transparency will be critically valuable to an industry that is learning and innovating in this new paradigm for valuing energy savings.

Pay for Performance

In the same document that defines metered measurement, the CPUC has also taken the first steps to outline how pay for performance programs can move forward. Tying together pay for performance and the measurement of metered savings makes good policy sense. Therefore, it is important the rules are written in tandem.

To incentivize energy savings, utilities, contractors, and implementers will need to measure energy savings at the meter and use “normalized metered energy consumption” as a framework for proper energy efficiency measurement. In order to put a value on energy savings, metered measurement must follow clear protocols that protect ratepayers, program participants and industry stakeholders who implement energy efficiency programs. Ensuring measurement is “normalized” and controls for external factors is the type of policy expertise that will provide accurate and defensible measurement to support pay for performance programs.

The Start of a Process

This document is the first step in a long process to truly define metered measurement and pay for performance programs. The CPUC will be hearing from stakeholders on this guidance and this is only the initial phase for high opportunity projects. As California takes the first steps toward metered measurement for energy efficiency, there will be lots of voices at the table and changes shaped by those differing perspectives.

At EnergySavvy, we plan to be part of the discussion. While getting metered measurement perfect is probably impossible, getting it right is required for this experiment in measurement to succeed. The value of energy efficiency is built on the bedrock of measurement, and the future of energy efficiency is built on programs that value energy savings as a resource. Measuring savings at the meter ties those strings together and enables energy efficiency to serve as a resource for the industry and the climate. And one thing is certain: if California is remaking energy efficiency measurement, it is going to impact the entire industry and reverberate around the country.

A New Way to Engage 90% of American Businesses About Energy Management

National_Grid-blogpostWith deployments at National Grid Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and four other investor-owned utilities launching soon, Optix Engage™ for Business is a digital engagement solution that effectively addresses a hard to reach, but critical customer segment.

Small and midsize businesses account for more than 90% of American companies, consume about 20% of the nation’s energy, but attract less than 4% of utility energy efficiency spending nationwide according to E Source. And a recent Accenture study showed that while 9 out of 10 businesses want more tailored products and services from their utility, just 35% say they’re getting it.

Why? Small and midsize businesses have often been challenging for utilities to serve: too numerous for dedicated account managers but too unique for standard mass-market outreach.


EnergySavvy announces Optix Engage for Business, a digital engagement solution that connects small and midsize businesses with the right utility customer programs and offerings.

EnergySavvy has worked with hundreds of businesses in an effort to build a solution that addresses their specific needs. Engage for Business supports more than 2,300 business types with a tailored experience. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, National Grid is supplementing its award-winning small business programs with Engage for Business, achieving early success. About 60% of business customers who start the audit complete it, and 36% convert to utility program leads.

National Grid has made significant commitments to help our customers save money and energy. Working with EnergySavvy enables us to further enhance our outreach and engagement with New England’s small and midsize businesses. The solution is easy, intuitive, and directs our business customers to a personalized set of money-saving opportunities based on their unique business type and premise. —Ezra McCarthy, Lead Analyst, C&I EE Program Strategy at National Grid U.S.

Engage for Business is seamlessly integrated into EnergySavvy’s Optix Platform, enabling utilities to benefit from the full suite of engagement, program automation and continuous savings measurement solutions.

“We’ve figured out over the last five years how to make home energy audits work for everyday people. This is all about making it easy for small business owners,” said Aaron Goldfeder, CEO of EnergySavvy. “Our passion is to deliver great customer experiences, drive action that improves the utility-customer relationship, and unlock data-driven insights to enable the utility of the future.”

About EnergySavvy

EnergySavvy is a leader in enterprise cloud software for the utility industry. Its Optix Platform drives customer intelligence, engagement and action through modern customer-centric software products and services. Over 25 utilities use Optix to deepen customer relationships and increase control, transparency, and agility within their customer operations.

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity and natural gas delivery company that connects nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.

Through its U.S. Connect21 strategy, National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Connect21 is vital to our communities’ long-term economic and environmental health and aligns with regulatory initiatives in New York (REV: Reforming the Energy Vision) and Massachusetts (Grid Modernization).

For more information please visit our website:, or our Connecting website. You can also follow us on Twitter, watch us on You Tube, like us on Facebook and find our photos on Instagram.

EnergySavvy Recognized as Technology Leader at 2015 Tech Impact Awards


Last week, EnergySavvy was named a Seattle Business Magazine Tech Impact Award winner, commended for moving the utility industry through one of the biggest transformations in the last century. The award applauds ingenuity and resourcefulness in the tech industry, celebrating those who have turned great ideas into great business.

Proud to stand alongside the 2013 and 2014 award winners, Concur and Payscale, EnergySavvy was recognized as a leader in the software as a service (SAAS) category for helping utility customer programs operate more like Amazon and less like the IRS.

Although energy efficiency is recognized as the world’s cleanest and most abundant resource, it’s considerably undervalued because it’s complex, hard to measure, and difficult to manage. This award recognizes EnergySavvy’s dedication to helping the industry meet changing market needs and achieve energy savings.

“We’ve come a long way since the ‘three guys in the garage’ days,” EnergySavvy COO Scott Case explained in his acceptance speech, “Seventy-five employees in two offices, enterprise customers all over the country. We’re succeeding in our mission of changing the way electric and natural gas utilities interact with their customers.”

What’s EnergySavvy’s secret sauce? “Plain old hard work,” says Scott, “and not drinking our own kool aid.”

A New Law: Measuring Savings at the Meter

Once again, California takes the lead.

by: Jake Oster, EnergySavvy’s Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs

Last week the California legislature adjourned, but not before passing a handful of important energy efficiency bills. Among the pile of bills sent to the Governor, Assembly Bill 802 passed largely unnoticed. While AB 802 failed to garner much attention, it’s a truly important piece of legislation for those of us on the front lines of energy efficiency measurement.

AB 802 requires the California Public Utility Commission to update the rules for the measurement of energy efficiency so that measurement is based on “normalized metered energy consumption.” At EnergySavvy, we call this “metered savings” and it means measuring what happens at the meter as a result of an energy efficiency upgrade performed on a home, building or other facility. Measuring savings in this way involves looking at weather-normalized energy consumption before and after an energy efficiency upgrade and accounting for the difference between consumption from pre-usage to post-usage. Measuring at the meter, while making adjustments to account for outliers, is important because it’s a true accounting of how energy efficiency impacts the grid and provides value for ratepayers.


Software can automate savings measurement to calculate metered savings.

Across the industry, EnergySavvy is seeing a general shift towards the use of meter data for measurement. Utilities are recognizing that measuring savings at the meter allows many programs to remain cost effective and regulators want an accurate accounting of energy efficiency measurement, instead of deemed savings.* And while in many cases, measuring energy savings at the meter occurs during the course of the evaluation process, it’s groundbreaking to see it codified in statute as a policy mandate for a state. California has a history of leadership in energy efficiency with more than three decades of energy conservation programs, and California is once again leading a change that many states are likely to echo.

As with any policy change, the details will matter. AB 802 requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to develop the new measurement standards by September of 2016. The CPUC will have to address several issues through the development of the new rules, such as how net savings are measured, how attribution is addressed for complex multi-measure programs and how to account for the persistence of savings. These are all important details that will need to be hashed out by the the CPUC and stakeholders, but starting from a place of measuring savings at the meter is likely to lead to better measurement practices for California’s energy efficiency programs.

As California is leading the way with new policy, the industry is meeting the challenge with new savings measurement software tools. Often referred to as “EM&V 2.0” technology, savings measurement software is made possible by advancements in cloud computing, parallel processing and data analytics to reduce the cost and time constraints that have traditionally hindered measuring metered savings. These savings measurement software tools empower utilities to measure savings at the meter, transmit savings data in a continuous manner and analyze the various factors that drive program performance outcomes to optimize programs.


Policy changes cannot happen in a vacuum. The industry has to be ready to meet the requirements set forth by the California legislature and the CPUC. In this case, modern software is capable of meeting those needs. In fact, while accounting for net savings will be a significant challenge that the CPUC needs to address while writing the new rules for measurement, savings measurement software can measure net savings through the use of robust comparison groups that span entire service territories. The arrival of savings measurement software will be a crucial enabling tool to meet the requirements set forth by AB 802.

Measuring savings at the meter is an important stepping stone for the energy efficiency industry. As energy efficiency is called on to address climate change, serve as a compliance mechanism for the Clean Power Plan and deliver cost effective savings for ratepayers, we need to measure energy savings in a way that meets those challenges. Additionally, the growing calls for market-based energy efficiency programs will require reliable measurements of savings and savings measurement software that can produce accurate results fast enough for a market to find useful.

For all of these reasons, energy efficiency advocates and industry leaders should be cheering for California and AB 802, and other states should begin to follow the lead of the Golden State. At EnergySavvy, we are ready to assist California and other states in this endeavor. With the recent arrival of savings measurement software, accounting for metered savings is now cost effective, simple and accessible. There is no reason why 2016 can’t be the year we move to measuring savings at the meter and capture the true and full impact of energy efficiency.

*Deemed savings are a set of standardized savings values for commonly used energy efficiency measures that are developed and maintained by state or regional bodies.

Transforming Energy Efficiency Through Modern Measurement: Get the New White Paper

A policy perspective on savings measurement software, new technology that will lead to greater transparency and better stewardship of utility ratepayer funds.

By: Jake Oster, EnergySavvy’s Sr. Director of Regulatory Affairs



The measurement of energy efficiency has two distinct constituencies. The first includes program administrators, utilities and energy efficiency providers tasked with delivering energy savings. The other audience consists of regulators responsible for overseeing the prudent use of ratepayer dollars to reduce demand side energy consumption. This paper is intended for that second audience, regulators who are accustomed to receiving reports on the evaluation of energy efficiency programs and have the authority to modernize energy efficiency measurement.

Despite several decades of energy efficiency initiatives, the measurement of energy efficiency remains an after-the-fact exercise that provides results and feedback well after projects and programs are completed. This presents challenges for regulators tasked with overseeing and approving the use of ratepayer dollars for energy efficiency efforts. And, delayed measurement denies utilities and program administrators the timely data needed to monitor performance and make in-flight changes to improve demand side management programs. Regardless of your role in energy efficiency, delayed measurement remains an impediment.

But change is on the horizon.

Technology is leading a transformation in the way energy savings are measured. The arrival of powerful data analytics, cloud computing, parallel processing and cutting edge software is capable of generating insights faster, cheaper and more effectively than ever before. These advances have produced an innovative new approach: savings measurement software.

Savings measurement software enhances the measurement of energy efficiency with three important changes to the status quo:

  1. Continuous measurement: near real-time measurement quantifies results throughout the program year.
  2. Metered measurement: instead of relying on pre-set standardized values (aka: deemed savings) savings measurement software calculates results based on the customer’s meter.
  3. Census measurement: rather than looking at a sampling of projects, savings measurement software is capable of analyzing the data from the customer’s meter at every project.

This means faster and more granular insights, opportunities to improve program performance, automated and streamlined measurement, as well as the increased confidence in rolling out new energy efficiency pilots. Savings measurement software uses existing and open measurement protocols (IPMVP Option C and ASHRAE Guideline 2002-14), combined with powerful analytics to prepare for, support, and enhance formal energy efficiency evaluation and provide data to update regional or state technical resource manuals. And as utilities and regulators jointly embark on restructuring how energy is generated, valued, delivered and used, savings measurement software enables energy efficiency to serve as a resource to address grid constraints, further engage customers and experiment with new models for financing energy efficiency projects.

This white paper explains the fundamental changes underway for energy efficiency measurement, the role of “2.0” approaches to measurement and how those changes are impacting the industry. Both regulators and utilities can agree that continuous delivery of insights and results, based on savings across all customers’ meters, is a valuable innovation for energy efficiency and the changing nature of the energy industry. And regulators have the authority and opportunity to embrace this technology and encourage the application of new tools that improve outcomes and strengthen the oversight of ratepayer-funded demand side management.

Download this white paper and learn how savings measurement software is transforming energy efficiency.