San Diego Gas and Electric launches exclusive PowerTools Green Button app

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At DistribuTECH on Tuesday, January 29th, San Diego Gas & Electric's (SDG&E) Technology Strategy Manager Brendan Blockowicz will announce the availability of a Green Button application developed for SDG&E in collaboration with Candi Controls.

The SDG&E PowerTools app allows customers to check recent energy use, set and manage energy saving goals, and track weather patterns related to energy use when they download the free app on their mobile phones or tablets. Utilizing the Green Button Connect My Data platform, the PowerTools app was designed to help SDG&E customers securely identify ways to make smarter choices in their energy use habits, improving efficiency and lowering costs.

Because customer data privacy is a priority for SDG&E, the utility worked with online data privacy management company TRUSTe, policymakers, consumer advocates, and privacy experts nationwide to create a credible, reliable privacy certification, making PowerTools the first app in the nation to receive certification through the TRUSTed Smart Grid Privacy Program, a self-regulatory program which certifies that companies use responsible privacy practices as they collect and share consumer smart grid data.

"The PowerTools app…has received the Privacy Smart Powered by TRUSTe Seal, which offers an added level of assurance for customers interested in authorizing trusted sources to use their energy data," said Caroline Winn, SDG&E Vice President, Customer Services, and Chief Customer Privacy Officer.

SDG&E's customer philosophy is "Convenience. Control. Choice." The PowerTools app delivers.

"The Green Button Connect tool and PowerTools app are supportive of SDG&E's strategy to give customers access to tools that help them manage their energy use anytime and anyplace in a way that's most convenient to them," said Erin Coller, Communications Manager, SDG&E, in an interview with FierceSmartGrid. "Green Button Connect offers a simplified platform to engage third parties such as Candi Controls to provide these energy management products and services to customers quickly and allows more niche products to be offered for various customer needs."

Interest in Green Button functionality overall has been strong among SDG&E customers.

"To date, more than 15,000 energy data downloads have taken place through SDG&E's Green Button Download My Data tool," said Coller. "The Green Button Connect tool and PowerTools app are supportive of SDG&E's strategy to give customers access to tools that help them manage their energy use anytime and anyplace in a way that's most convenient to them."

SDG&E is engaging its customers in using the new tool via a marketing campaign, including an opportunities banner that directs customers to energy-saving tips, a Twitter feed, customized messages that can be communicated to targeted customers around topics like demand response and conservation, an outage map and access to SDG&E's YouTube videos, according to Coller.

PowerTools is currently available via the iTunes Store for iPhones and iPads; availability on Google Play Android devices is forthcoming. In the future, SDG&E plans to expand the number of third-part apps available to its customers. 

"There is a regulatory decision pending approval that will set the framework on this process for third-party apps," said Coller. "Until that decision is final, we are launching with limited partners, and we continue to engage in ongoing discussions with about a dozen companies that are working on their own apps regarding connectivity with SDG&E customer data."