Law: A portal provided by the DSO: a brake or an accelerator Energy Efficiency?

Some countries, including Switzerland, now require DSO (Distribution System Operator) to provide their customers with a portal to visualize their consumption. What to expect from this regulatory provision? How will it influence the development of energy efficiency initiatives and the evolution of consciousness in relation to energy consumption?

This measure is, obviously, in the wake of the belief that “seeing the consumption incites to reduce it”. Most pilot projects dismantle this belief today. As they are not knowledgeable, unmotivated, unconcerned, most of the consumers dedicate, by themselves, no time and attention to their energy consumption. They must be accompanied, “coached”.

In front of any regulatory imposition, two attitudes are possible: answer at the lowest cost or try to take advantage in creating value.

In this case, the DSO, that is not the supplier, will have little opportunity to create value for the final consumer from the visualization of meter data. He will develop applications using that data and serving his own needs, in terms of network balance, for example.

There is a safe bet that the DSOs meet “a minima” this requirement, ie provide a simple visualization without capacity for analysis, without giving meaning to information.

I fear three consequences:

– Such a portal is likely to discredit to consumers the value of a portal because the first they will have to provision generate no gain.

– Providing such free portal induces the idea that it has no value. It will now be harder to sell.

– It will also be more difficult for energy suppliers and the various energy service providers to legitimize a second portal that supports their services

Whenever possible, a partnership between DSOs and suppliers to use a single portal with regulatory features offered by the DSO and creative value sold by suppliers through different options, will reduce the impact of the expected consequences.

In parallel, the legislator tends to make the most independent possible the DSOs of suppliers, thus making it more difficult this kind of agreement. Look for consistency!

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