By Kari Lydersen

A treasure trove of energy savings and environmental benefits sit untapped in reams of data from smart meters that show individuals how to cut their energy use. The data also reveal larger insights about the value of different efficiency investments, potentially sparking a vibrant, competitive efficiency market.

But that data is going relatively unseen and unused, since many consumers don’t know what to do with — or even have access to — their own data. Utilities that hold the data are often reluctant to release it, in part because they are concerned about liability if the data is misused or hacked.

Mark Templeton is director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago, a member of the University’s Energy Policy Institute and an associate clinical law professor at the Law School.

He is an expert on energy data access and how data can unlock the potential for significant energy savings and ensuing environmental benefits. In June Templeton and his students published a report examining the great potential and legal implications of expanded energy data access.

The report offers model laws and regulations and examines pros and cons of different options for utilities, third-party providers and consumers, including ways of addressing questions of liability and privacy.

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