The Meshartility report on data sharing practices between energy suppliers and local authorities in Europe is based on an online survey that was conducted between November 2012 and August 2012, as well as on feedback gathered through a number of less formal information gathering interviews. The survey was directed at local authorities, their associations and Covenant of Mayors supporting organizations, as well as at energy suppliers (i.e. retailers, distribution services organizations (DSOs)) and their associations).
The survey was mainly shaped to gather information about the network-bound forms of energy (electricity, natural gas, district heating and cooling), but it also gathered information on non network bound energy forms such as heating oil, coal or wood.
The executive of the Meshartility Survey mentioned some comments and recommendations:
While no guidance documents, communications or directives were identified in EU acquis that are explicitly aimed at energy data sharing between energy suppliers and local authorities (LAs), many directives include recommendations or obligations for the sharing of data for a particular purpose. The relevance of EU legislation as well as national legislation in the 12 project countries for data sharing with LAs is explored in this report.
The most relevant pieces of legislation pertaining to energy use data sharing between utilities and LAs are the new Energy Efficiency Directive (EED, 2012/27/EU) as well as its predecessor, the now repealed Energy Services Directive (ESD, 2006/32/EC). The new directive specifically acknowledges the Covenant of Mayors initiative and the role of Local Administrations (LAs) in achieving significant energy savings, and calls for Member States to encourage municipalities and other public bodies to adopt integrated and sustainable energy efficiency plans. Furthermore it calls for all Member States to set up an energy efficiency obligation scheme, under which obligated parties (energy distributors and/or retail energy sales companies) have to achieve energy savings of 1.5% per year on average.
Within this obligation scheme Member States may permit obligated parties to count certified energy savings achieved through public authorities that may or may not involve formal partnerships. Any voluntary agreements to share data with LAs for the purpose of reducing energy use could provide a mechanism to fulfill this requirement, and this opens up the possibility and provides a strong incentive to create win-win situations between obligated parties and LAs.
In both directives Member States are asked to reserve the right to collect energy endues consumption data, but data only has to be provided ‘on request’, with no specific detail given on the customer grouping and geographical segregation that is required. As a result very few countries collect the data.
While the sharing of individual private data with third parties is controlled by a suite of EU and national legislation, the sharing of aggregated and non-identifying data such as consumption data segregated into customer groups and geographical areas is generally not restricted by EU or national data protection regulations.
A number of recommendations how the application of regulation can assist energy data sharing between energy suppliers and LAs have been arrived at and are summarised below:
Recommendation 1: Member States put measures into place to actually request and collect the data defined in 2012/27/EU Article 7, 8, preferably in one central place (e.g. Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Statistics, National Energy Agencies).
Recommendation 2: Customer segmentation should at least be divided into industry, transport (split between passenger and freight transport, if available), households and services.
Recommendation 3: Customer location should be segregated by postcode (since this classification already exists in most supplier databases, and it usually has a good correlation with municipal geographical areas), or NUTS-code at least down to Level 3, preferably down to LAU1 or even LAU2, or if not, segregation be by network node.
Recommendation 4: Reporting should be on an annual basis.
Recommendation 5: This data to be made freely available to LAs for the purposes of developing energy efficiency plans.
Recommendation 6: That energy distributors and/or retail energy sales companies and LA’s work together (through voluntary agreements) in developing and adopting integrated and sustainable energy efficiency plans to reach the 1.5% per year savings target.
Recommendation 7: Introduce requirements for suppliers to report on emission factors, especially for electricity distributed or sold.