Utilities should do more to give building owners energy use information

Owners of multi-tenant buildings lack basic information.

October 02, 2015 |

Even when a building has smart meters, the owner cannot get total kilowatt hour use from the utility. Photo: Portland General Electric/Creative Commons

Utilities should do a better job of giving multi-tenant building owners better information about energy use, writes Philip Henderson of the National Resources Defense Council.

Most utilities do not provide basic information about thousands of buildings occupied by multiple tenants with separate utility accounts. This applies to apartments, shopping malls, and offices.

The owner needs to know total kilowatt hours of electricity used in the building to assess energy improvement projects. “Giving the owner a ‘whole-building’ total means the owner does not have to read meters manually or collect paper bills from tenants -- time-consuming, error-prone, and unnecessary,” Henderson writes. Even when a building has smart meters, the owner cannot get total kilowatt hour use from the utility. 

Several leading utilities, such as Commonwealth Edison in Chicago, PEPCO in Washington, D.C., Eversource in Boston, National Grid in New York, and Consolidated Edison in New York, have recently made this information available. Some have created online portals for building owners to obtain summary information.

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